yawn

verb
\ˈyȯn, ˈyän\
yawned; yawning; yawns

Definition of yawn 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to open wide : gape

2 : to open the mouth wide and take a deep breath usually as an involuntary reaction to fatigue or boredom

transitive verb

1 : to utter with a yawn

2 : to accomplish with or impel by yawns his grandchildren yawned him to bed— L. L. King

yawn

noun

Definition of yawn (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : gap, cavity

2 : an opening of the mouth wide while taking a deep breath often as an involuntary reaction to fatigue or boredom also : a reaction resembling a yawn a … success at the box office but drew only yawns from critics Current Biography

3 : bore entry 5 this book is kind of a yawn— Ilene L. Cooper

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for yawn

Synonyms: Noun

bore, drag, drip, droner, dullsville, yawner

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of yawn in a Sentence

Verb

Students were yawning in class.

Noun

I tried to stifle a yawn. as neither candidate was willing to make an unequivocal statement about anything, the debate proved to be a complete yawn
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In the gap between the floor of the garage and slowly-yawning door, a pair of hiking boots appeared. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Georgia cop fired after he ran over fleeing suspect with his car," 3 June 2018 Three years of low oil prices have produced yawning budget deficits, hurting the government’s ability to provide the public sector jobs and benefits — including cheap gas and electricity — to which its citizens have grown accustomed. Alexandra Zavis, latimes.com, "Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is turning to another resource to power the kingdom — sunshine," 31 May 2018 Jordan is embarking on a three-year program of painful economic measures ordered up by the International Monetary Fund to help the kingdom cut its yawning public debt. Loveday Morris, BostonGlobe.com, "Jordan has weathered its worst protests since Arab Spring, but the storm isn’t over," 9 June 2018 Little babies are yawning all around the circle, held on laps and centered against chests. Karen Russell, The New Yorker, "Orange World," 4 June 2017 But Monday's hearing only exposed the yawning political divide that not even a 16-chapter report, prepared over the past 18 months, could reconcile. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Senate judiciary panel grills Justice inspector general, FBI director on Clinton email probe," 18 June 2018 Eventually, the shadows of the trees yawned and stretched and wrapped around us, and a cool breeze blew through the park. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "Grilling Is a Fine Way to Make Enemies," 8 June 2018 Continually yawning or the inability to keep your eyes open. NBC News, "How to tell if you're too tired to drive — and what to do if you are," 8 July 2018 In the gap between the floor of the garage and slowly-yawning door, a pair of hiking boots appeared. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Georgia cop fired after he ran over fleeing suspect with his car," 3 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For decades, the O in O Street downtown might as well have symbolized a big yawn. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "This may be downtown Sacramento's most boring corridor. Would a facelift change that?," 27 June 2018 But the media, of course, didn't report, barely yawn. Fox News, "Questions remain after Wray and Horowitz testify," 19 June 2018 The Enquirer/Bobby Nightengale (Photo: Sam Greene) Oh, yawn. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Morning Line: Enjoy the fun being produced by the Cincinnati Reds lineup," 3 July 2018 My forays into the abyss of retail seemed to happen without my noticing, like the onset of a yawn. Hayley Phelan, WSJ, "Lessons From a Six-Month Shopping Detox," 26 June 2018 As soon as that yawn is over, then my voice is back to a struggle. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "The radio man without a voice," 15 June 2018 Make sure to pack a piece of chewing gum before you board, or yawn to relieve ear pressure. Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "What can I bring in a carry-on bag? And other travel tips from Delta and TSA," 15 June 2018 This is the jaw-dropping moment that a sleepy fisherman has a stretch and a yawn — oblivious to the giant whale shark swimming next to his canoe. Yasmin Harisha, Fox News, "Photographer captures whale shark swimming beneath sleepy fisherman," 20 June 2018 His statements were greeted by the sports world, black America and even Ali’s former lawyer with a collective yawn. Alex Clark, The Root, "Trump’s Pardon of Muhammad Ali Would Mean Nothing," 8 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of yawn

Verb

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

Noun

1602, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for yawn

Verb

Middle English yenen, yanen, from Old English ginian; akin to Old High German ginēn to yawn, Latin hiare, Greek chainein

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about yawn

Dictionary Entries near yawn

yawing moment

yawl

yawmeter

yawn

yawner

yawnful

yawning

Statistics for yawn

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for yawn

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for yawn

yawn

verb

English Language Learners Definition of yawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to open your mouth wide while taking in breath usually because you are tired or bored

of an opening, hole, etc. : to be deep, large, etc.

yawn

noun

English Language Learners Definition of yawn (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of opening your mouth wide while taking in breath : an act of yawning

: something that is very boring

yawn

verb
\ˈyȯn \
yawned; yawning

Kids Definition of yawn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to open the mouth wide and take a deep breath usually as an involuntary reaction to being tired or bored

2 : to open wide A pit yawned below.

yawn

noun

Kids Definition of yawn (Entry 2 of 2)

: an opening of the mouth while taking a deep breath usually as an involuntary reaction to being tired or bored

\ˈyȯn, ˈyän \

Medical Definition of yawn 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: to open the mouth wide and take a deep breath usually as an involuntary reaction to fatigue or boredom

yawn

noun

Medical Definition of yawn (Entry 2 of 2)

: an opening of the mouth wide while taking a deep breath often as an involuntary reaction to fatigue or boredom

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on yawn

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!