\ˈwȯrn \
warned; warning; warns

Definition of warn 

transitive verb

1a : to give notice to beforehand especially of danger or evil

b : to give admonishing advice to : counsel

c : to call to one's attention : inform

2 : to order to go or stay away often used with off

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Other Words from warn

warner noun

Examples of warn in a Sentence

I had been warned about the difficulties of the job. She warned me that the stove was still hot. “This won't be easy,” he warned. Nobody warned me about the dangers. I warned him to be careful, but he didn't listen to me. She warned us not to go too close to the fire.
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Recent Examples on the Web

He was warned that these words would potentially, maybe even perhaps inevitably, have consequences. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Why the New York Times won’t sell itself to a billionaire," 5 Nov. 2018 Planes were warned of the ash clouds because volcanic ash is hazardous for their engines. Fox News, "Volcano erupts on same Indonesian island as earlier quake," 3 Oct. 2018 How Jimmy Kimmel and Molly McNearny Met Although some people warn against mixing your professional life and personal life, Kimmel and McNearny actually met at work. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "Jimmy Kimmel and Molly McNearny Have an Unexpected Love Story," 15 Sep. 2018 Your body also gives you warning signs, or menopausal symptoms, that start occurring during the perimenopause or menopause transition. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "How Long Does Menopause Last?," 6 Sep. 2018 Most recently, an Indiana veterinarian warned pet owners of another spike in flu cases. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "The Dog Flu Is Spreading Across the Country for the First Time In Years," 16 Aug. 2018 In June, officials warned outdoorsy types about coming into contact with giant hogweed, an invasive plant that can lead to third-degree burns and blindness. Sarah Klein, Health.com, "Giant Hogweed Sent This Virginia Teen to the Hospital. Here's What to Know About the Scary Plant That Can Burn Your Skin and Lead to Blindness," 13 July 2018 The Trump administration raised the stakes in the growing trade dispute, threatening 10 percent tariffs on a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, sending stocks lower and prompting Beijing to warn it would be forced to respond. NBC News, "China vows retaliation as U.S. ups trade war ante, threatens tariffs on $200 billion of goods," 11 July 2018 And yet, by choosing to close the film with the revolutionary narrative, rather than cutting off (sorry, sorry) beforehand, Coppola is reminding us (or warning us) that a wind of change is indeed here at last. refinery29.com, "Why Marie Antoinette Is Really Mean Girls, Versailles Edition," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'warn.' 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 warn

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

History and Etymology for warn

Middle English warnen, going back to Old English wearnian, warnian "to be on one's guard, make aware, put on one's guard," going back to West Germanic *warnōjan- (whence Middle Dutch waernen "to provide with, give notice of a danger," Old High German warnōn), probably causative derivative of Germanic *wara- "cognizant, watchful" — more at ware entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near warn


warm water





Warner Robins

Statistics for warn

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for warn

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

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More Definitions for warn



English Language Learners Definition of warn

: to tell (someone) about possible danger or trouble

: to tell (someone) to do or not to do something in order to avoid danger or trouble


\ˈwȯrn \
warned; warning

Kids Definition of warn

1 : to put on guard : caution

2 : to notify especially in advance I warned you I might not stay long.

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More from Merriam-Webster on warn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with warn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for warn

Spanish Central: Translation of warn

Nglish: Translation of warn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of warn for Arabic Speakers

Comments on warn

What made you want to look up warn? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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