\ ˈwȯrn How to pronounce warn (audio) \
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

The area’s coastal cities were greeted with dense fog early Tuesday morning as meteorologists warned of suddenly reduced visibility for motorists, boaters and airlines. Los Angeles Times, "Southern California’s heat wave winds down, but fire danger remains in some areas," 16 July 2019 As non-city employees, such advisers are not required to publicly disclose financial information that might warn of potential conflicts of interest, for example. Juan Perez Jr., chicagotribune.com, "Despite residency rules, World Business Chicago VP, Wilmette school board president holds a key role in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s orbit," 15 July 2019 Nepal’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology warned of more troubles ahead for the southern region near the main rivers, urging people to keep watch on rising water levels and move to higher ground when needed. Binaj Gurubacharya, SFChronicle.com, "Heavy rain leaves scores dead in Nepal, India, Bangladesh," 14 July 2019 Daimler warning: The owner of Mercedes-Benz has warned of a major slump in profits this year after recalls, legal issues and weak demand for new cars contributed to a rough second quarter. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Dow 27,000; Trump vs. Libra; Daimler warning," 12 July 2019 The Philippines rejected the outcome and warned of consequences for states who backed it. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "U.N. Calls for Probe on Philippines Drug War," 11 July 2019 Francisco Rodríguez, an economist in New York who has advised the moderate opposition, warns of famine. The Economist, "With tenacity and torture, Venezuela’s awful regime is hanging on," 11 July 2019 Meteorologists warned of a chance that the storm could linger in the Gulf, strengthening over warm waters and landing sometime this weekend. Ben Kesslen, NBC News, "Gulf Coast braces for major cluster of thunderstorms with hurricane potential," 10 July 2019 The Portland Bureau of Transportation warns of periodic lane closures during work hours. oregonlive.com, "Portland metro Tuesday traffic: Trenton Street road work slows traffic in North Portland," 9 July 2019

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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Learn More about warn

Dictionary Entries near warn



warm water




Warner Robins

Statistics for warn

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce warn (audio) \
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

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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