Definition of awn in English:



  • A stiff bristle, especially one of those growing from the ear or flower of barley, rye, and many grasses.

    • ‘Notably lacking are spikelet fragments, chaff, awns, pods, and weed seeds that comprise the debris from processing such crops for storage or from using dung as fuel.’
    • ‘Periodically inspecting your dog for fleas, ticks, grass awns and barbs is also a good idea.’
    • ‘Phenotypic traits include barbed lemmas, small sterile lateral spikelets, short glume awns, narrow leaves, semismooth awns, and long rachilla hairs.’
    • ‘Such traits include a long awn; short, thick grains; photoperiod sensitivity; and low productivity.’
    • ‘Just before the fruit matures, it changes from green to brown and the awns separate from the central axis to disperse the seeds.’


Old English, from Old Norse ǫgn; related to Swedish agn, Danish avn.