\ ˈwān How to pronounce wane (audio) \
waned; waning

Definition of wane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to decrease in size, extent, or degree : dwindle: such as
a : to diminish in phase or intensity used chiefly of the moon, other satellites, and inferior planets
b : to become less brilliant or powerful : dim
c : to flow out : ebb
2 : to fall gradually from power, prosperity, or influence



Definition of wane (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the act or process of waning strength on the wane
b : a period or time of waning specifically : the period from the full moon to the new moon
2 [Middle English, defect, from Old English wana; akin to Old English wan deficient] : a defect in lumber characterized by bark or a lack of wood at a corner or edge

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Choose the Right Synonym for wane


abate, subside, wane, ebb mean to die down in force or intensity. abate stresses the idea of progressive diminishing. the storm abated subside implies the ceasing of turbulence or agitation. the protests subsided after a few days wane suggests the fading or weakening of something good or impressive. waning enthusiasm ebb suggests the receding of something (such as the tide) that commonly comes and goes. the ebbing of daylight

Did You Know?


"Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour / Draws on apace four happy days bring in / Another moon: But oh, methinks how slow / This old moon wanes!" So Theseus describes his eagerness for his wedding night in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. As illustrated by Theseus' words, wane is a word often called upon to describe the seeming decrease in size of the moon in the later phases of the lunar cycle. The traditional opposite of wane is wax, a once common but now infrequently used synonym of grow. Wane and wax have been partnered in reference to the moon since the Middle Ages.

Examples of wane in a Sentence

Verb The moon waxes and then wanes. The scandal caused her popularity to wane. Interest in this issue has continued to wane. the waning days of summer
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To be sure, the use of sale-leasebacks, which are popular in other industries, could wane in popularity if other financing options begin to open up. Kristine Owram, chicagotribune.com, "Pot companies shed real estate amid dearth of financing options," 7 Nov. 2019 Confidence: Medium Tonight: After the chance of a lingering early-evening shower, winds slowly wane with partially clearing skies. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Rainy this morning into afternoon. Sunnier tomorrow!," 20 Oct. 2019 Those numbers have begun to wane slightly, which law enforcement officials attribute to seasonal affects and a policy that forces asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico until their day in U.S. immigration courts. Julia Ainsley, NBC News, "Trump admin says migrants passing through El Salvador must seek asylum there before asking U.S.," 20 Sep. 2019 The stakes remain as high as ever for Juventus, and as the pressure grows each year, Ronaldo's patience may wane. SI.com, "How Juventus are Building to Finally Win the UEFA Champions League," 11 July 2019 That support could wane if teachers in strong-union states like California or Illinois choose not to pay dues and fees. New York Times, "What the Supreme Court’s Janus Decision Means for Teacher Unions," 27 June 2018 Unlike other pigments, this one, which is red, is not present until the chlorophyll starts to wane. BostonGlobe.com, "It happens every year: The green leaves of spring and summer lose their chlorophyll and voila, the colors of autumn are born.," 4 Oct. 2019 McSally's hopes for holding her seat hinge on holding onto voters in suburbs such as Gilbert, Mesa and Scottsdale where Republicans have traditionally performed well but saw their fortunes wane in last year's midterms. oregonlive.com, "Suburban voters are pressuring Republicans to act on guns," 18 Aug. 2019 Then, unsurprisingly, as the fires raged on with no indication of dying out, social media attention has started to wane. William Thomson, Quartz, "To save our forests, give them back to the people they were stolen from," 5 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Prior to the Lakers star's remarks, tensions between the NBA and China appeared to be on the wane. Karen Chu, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hong Kong Protestors Voice Disappointment in LeBron James: "He Supports Totalitarianism?"," 15 Oct. 2019 Those values are on the wane, however, under the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "Amartya Sen’s Hopes and Fears for Indian Democracy," 6 Oct. 2019 Altria is counting on Juul's dominance in the burgeoning e-cig business to help drive future growth in North America and other global markets where cigarette smoking is on the wane. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Is Altria's $13 billion investment in Juul going up in smoke?," 23 Sep. 2019 Foreign buyers — who have helped fuel the push in premium homes — are on the wane. NBC News, "Real estate sales sink as foreign buyers shy away from shaky political climate in U.S.," 3 Oct. 2019 The state relies on a growing population for a large share of its economic growth, so as the natural increase in population wanes then Oregon will be even more reliant on migration for that growth. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive, "Oregon Insight: Deaths will soon outpace births," 29 Sep. 2019 Once the celebrations wane, cows nestle back into foothill farms, and villagers return to the humdrum of daily life. Danielle Bernabe, National Geographic, "Eat, drink, and herd cattle at this Austrian festival," 15 Sep. 2019 Appel believes that mercy killings are a tragic symptom of the abandonment—by medical institutions, social services, and insurance providers—that many elder couples feel as their physical independence wanes and caretaking consumes them. Ann Neumann, Harper's magazine, "Going to Extremes," 10 June 2019 Their defense was aggressive, never slowing down or letting their effort wane. Kelli Stacy, courant.com, "Connecticut Sun beat LA Sparks 89-77 in Chiney Ogwumike’s return to Mohegan Sun," 7 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wane.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of wane


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for wane


Middle English wanien, wanen, going back to Old English wanian, going back to Germanic *wanōjan- (whence Old High German wanōn "to lessen," Old Norse vana), weak verb derivative from *wano- "deficient, absent," whence Old English & Old High German wan "lacking, deficient," Old Norse vanr, Gothic wans; akin to Latin vānus "empty, vain," Greek eûnis "bereft (of), without," Sanskrit ūna- "deficient, defective"

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Time Traveler for wane

Time Traveler

The first known use of wane was before the 12th century

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Statistics for wane

Last Updated

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Wane.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waning. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for wane


How to pronounce wane (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wane

of the moon : to appear to become thinner or less full
: to become smaller or less : to decrease in size, amount, length, or quality


\ ˈwān How to pronounce wane (audio) \
waned; waning

Kids Definition of wane

1 : to grow smaller or less His interest in the game was waning. The moon wanes.
2 : to grow shorter The day is waning.

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More from Merriam-Webster on wane

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wane

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wane

Spanish Central: Translation of wane

Nglish: Translation of wane for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wane for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wane

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very cautious or careful

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