\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Even so, analysts and economists warn the ceiling for job growth in sectors such as accommodation will likely be lower than prepandemic levels. Allison Pohle, WSJ, 5 Aug. 2022 There is always the risk, some longtime strategists warn, of getting distracted from the issues that polls show are still driving most Americans. New York Times, 3 Aug. 2022 Researchers warn that hospitalized Covid-19 patients may be at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes due to inflammation caused by the virus. Katie Jennings, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 Officials warn also that nearly 5,000 structures remain threatened by the blaze and 3,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 2 Aug. 2022 Officials warn also that nearly 5,000 structures remain threatened by the blaze and 3,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate. Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2022 Some Republicans warn that Democrats risk overplaying their hand. Thomas Beaumont, BostonGlobe.com, 31 July 2022 These roadway reminders warn motorists, pedestrians and cyclists that their neighborhood streets are not always safe. Alixel Cabrera, The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 July 2022 Economists warn inflation could get even worse because gas prices have continued to hit record highs in recent days, exacerbating a spike that began after Russia invaded Ukraine. Matt Egan, CNN, 27 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Warn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warn. Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for warn


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on warn

Nglish: Translation of warn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of warn for Arabic Speakers


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