Definition of dawn in English:



  • 1The first appearance of light in the sky before sunrise.

    ‘he set off at dawn’
    • ‘Rise free from care before the dawn, and seek adventures.’
    • ‘When he reached the meeting place, the girl was sitting on the ground in the pale light of dawn, braiding her hair silently.’
    • ‘She pushed the horse faster, but didn't sit up until the first light of dawn rose over the horizon.’
    • ‘But it is a grand life; have you ever seen the sun set at sea or rise in the dawn?’
    • ‘Opening my eyes, she peers back at me, looking forlorn and nervous, as the pale light of dawn steals across the morning sky.’
    • ‘Because visual signals are difficult to perceive at dawn, it might be expected that females use vocal cues to signal their intentions.’
    • ‘I watched with dry, weary eyes as the pale light of dawn overwhelmed the amber glow of the Parisian night sky.’
    • ‘And then the dawn's early light suddenly appears to Ginger, clearing all those confusing dark clouds away.’
    • ‘The dawn was rising, all pinks and yellows spilling out on the trees, setting what snow remained ablaze in a curtain of white.’
    • ‘It was so beautiful, like the first light of a dawn in another world.’
    • ‘The rundown colonial port buildings house tailors, coppersmiths and fishermen, who rise with the dawn and retire with the sun, for there's little electricity here.’
    • ‘She wakes up in those dawns and rises with the sun.’
    • ‘The others and I would waddle into the mines before sunrise, never seeing the first lights of dawn.’
    • ‘She rushed the hair out of her face with a shaky hand, glancing around nervously in the pale gray light of dawn.’
    • ‘When dawn rose they hunted the plentiful game and feasted on many goats, gazing at the smoke of the Cyclops.’
    • ‘All observations of mating behavior commenced at the beginning of this dawn period.’
    • ‘At dawn's first light they reached the wrought iron gates of the palace, strangely ajar.’
    • ‘She woke up at the first light of the dawn and crept out to the study.’
    • ‘She slept soundly that day, and into the night, and did not rise until the next dawn.’
    • ‘That same day I rose with the dawn and went to visit their graves.’
    daybreak, break of day, crack of dawn, sunrise, first light, daylight, first thing in the morning, early morning, cockcrow
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    1. 1.1The beginning of a phenomenon or period of time, especially one perceived as auspicious.
      literary ‘the dawn of civilization’
      • ‘Nickel has been used in alloys that date back to the dawn of civilization.’
      • ‘God is revealing a powerful message to us all that we must not give up in times of darkness, because the dawn of a new beginning is just around the corner.’
      • ‘Historically, this period is the dawn of economic modernism and social modernity, especially in the hinterlands.’
      • ‘That revolutionary dawn proved less than auspicious after many Frenchmen died under the blade of the guillotine.’
      • ‘Fight bravely and a new dawn will rise in this land.’
      • ‘The industrial revolution arrived in Japan with the new dawn of the Meiji period.’
      • ‘The world has been going through a tumultuous period since the dawn of the 1990s, with no sign of relief in sight.’
      • ‘Today heralds the dawn of a new beginning for them both.’
      • ‘The beginning of the 21st century is also the dawn of the first global society of states.’
      • ‘Humans require new dawns, fresh starts, ends of eras.’
      • ‘Information has occupied an important role in all societies since the dawn of civilization.’
      • ‘Once upon a time, back at the dawn of the weblog phenomenon, link logs didn't happen.’
      • ‘From a long-term point of view, therefore, the tumultuous changes in Italian religion at the end of the early modern period mark not the dawn of a new era but merely a caesura.’
      • ‘From the dawn of human civilization, super-powers have had to do all sorts of dirty things.’
      • ‘In the end, when the family travels away from their ancestral home, it signifies the birth of a new dawn, the beginning of an aspiration.’
      • ‘The Arts and Crafts Festival will bring to its patrons the traditional Indian crafts with a heritage going back to the dawn of civilisation.’
      • ‘Driving through a land which has been intensively farmed since the dawn of civilisation, we soon reached the Ghab, a rich agricultural valley which had once been marshland.’
      • ‘If we are correct, the Late Devonian wood problem was an almost inevitable result of evolutionary developments at the dawn of life.’
      • ‘It's a new dawn in Carolina, although that could mean a period of adjustment.’
      • ‘It will take a lot of effort but it will be the beginning of a new dawn for the whole Middle East.’
      beginning, start, birth, inception, conception, origination, genesis, emergence, advent, coming, appearance, debut, arrival, dawning, rise, starting point, origin, launch, institution, inauguration, opening, initiation, onset, outset, unfolding, development, infancy
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  • 1(of a day) begin.

    [with complement] ‘Thursday dawned bright and sunny’
    • ‘I kept the doors and windows closed even after day had dawned.’
    • ‘Guru Hargobind would rise long before the day dawned and after his bath in the holy tank, would go into meditation.’
    • ‘The next day dawned - if such a bright word could be used to describe its beginning - miserable and rainy.’
    • ‘The Harvest Festival day dawned bright and cheerful in the sky.’
    • ‘The chapel was over a hundred years old and the day dawned sunny and mild for them.’
    • ‘The day had dawned bright and cheery, and even now, a summer sun warmed up the blue sky.’
    • ‘On a day such as this, one might have hoped that the day would dawn bright and early, bringing sunshine and crisp, cold, blue skies.’
    • ‘Boxing Day had dawned bright and clear, and for many tourists a gentle swim or some lazing on the beach beckoned.’
    • ‘The day dawned brightly, the sun spreading over the blue grass and the seven forms hidden in it.’
    • ‘The second day dawned bright and hot, and would continue to get hotter, with a nice breeze at times.’
    • ‘The next day dawned bright, and Karya woke with the first kiss of sunbeams on her face.’
    • ‘Sure enough, the next day dawned bright and sunny, and everything that had been shrouded in darkness was revealed in all its glory.’
    • ‘As the next day dawned, it was time to check in not just a hoard of goodies, but a baggage full of happiness, and unchecked emotion.’
    • ‘The next day dawned bright and clear, and Anne woke to a steaming breakfast.’
    • ‘The day had dawned bright and hot by the time Caroline's mother left.’
    • ‘The day of the wedding dawned bright and clear, almost like God was smiling His blessing on the union.’
    • ‘The next day dawned late, and we set out across an inland sea - the giant frozen lake Kuttijarvi - so large we couldn't see other side.’
    • ‘The next day dawned bright, but by evening clouds had settled in.’
    • ‘Wedding day dawned dull and gray, but by 3 pm was bright and sunny.’
    • ‘The day dawned bright and sunny and the event was well attended by family, friends, local dignitaries and sponsors.’
    begin, open, break, arrive, emerge, grow light, lighten, brighten
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    1. 1.1Come into existence.
      ‘a new age was dawning in the Tory party’
      • ‘Well, let's hope that a new day is dawning in this country.’
      • ‘Only in 2000 has a new day dawned for the Osaka branch, as the Kansai economy emerges from stagnation.’
      • ‘As the day of reckoning dawned, it was the grown-ups who were struggling with their emotions as the 50,000 students headed off.’
      • ‘The 1970s dawned and Alf was uncomfortable with the new age of the footballing superstar.’
      • ‘A new age was dawning, and I was riding the crest of it.’
      • ‘A new age was dawning, claims LaFeber, not just an expansion of the old multinational system.’
      • ‘Nothing less would have seemed appropriate for the new age that had apparently just dawned.’
      • ‘They say that a new age is dawning upon the city, and that I am the engineer behind it all.’
      • ‘However, you get a real sense that the best days are now dawning for the Institute and - as a result - for the region that it is such a key part of.’
      • ‘To be sure the threat to the Pattern has existed for the past couple of years, but I never thought the day would dawn when the outgoing committee was left with no alternative but to call it a day.’
      • ‘This melancholy, down trodden land reeked of sadness and the gore that occurred and dawned because of it.’
      • ‘As the twenty-first century dawned, issues of immigration policy would clearly remain on the national agenda.’
      • ‘These works all suggested that a new era of international relations was dawning.’
      • ‘Soon, Iridia knew war was unavoidable, and that a new Age had dawned.’
      • ‘Intellectuals, and even Christians, hail a new age as if it had really dawned universally.’
      • ‘A new age has dawned, and the Holy Spirit has been poured out in a new way.’
      • ‘From the darkness that is Enron, I see a new day dawning in energy in America.’
      • ‘Those farmers left and abandoned their turf banks so that prosperity and a new age would dawn for the province.’
      • ‘Clarinbridge have been there or thereabouts now for the past number of years and their day must surely dawn soon.’
      • ‘Well a new age has dawned, and with it, brings a new of age rogues.’
      begin, start, come into being, be born, come into existence, appear, arrive, come forth, emerge, erupt, burst out
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  • 2Become evident to the mind; be perceived or understood.

    ‘the awful truth was beginning to dawn on him’
    ‘he smiled with dawning recognition’
    • ‘It took about three seconds for understanding to dawn on him.’
    • ‘Travelling through London yesterday was peculiar; it didn't dawn on me that I would have to use the tube until my train from Brighton was approaching Victoria.’
    • ‘After the histrionics were well and truly over, the realisation dawned that something truly shocking had occurred.’
    • ‘It didn't dawn on us what the reader was really asking.’
    • ‘Then it dawns on her he is suggesting that they should go and inspect a studio apartment he has found.’
    • ‘It was beginning to dawn on her mind that Billy was most probably part of this scheme of Jay's to meet him tonight.’
    • ‘Slowly understanding began to dawn on his face and his expression softened into something like pity.’
    • ‘Much of this has yet to dawn on Labour's backbenches and few would understand it even if spelled out for them.’
    • ‘This is not to say that he appreciated this when the incident occurred, but it dawned on him soon after.’
    • ‘Realization seemed to dawn on Kaya's face after that sentence.’
    • ‘Alucius was silent, watching the realization of what must have happened dawn on the boy.’
    • ‘When did it dawn on you that this was a problem that needed to be tackled?’
    • ‘It suddenly dawned on Juktis that over the centuries of her existence, the religion of her people may have been lost in the passage of time.’
    • ‘I notice the realization starting to dawn on the other two.’
    • ‘It will dawn on her that she will have to fix the photocopier herself.’
    • ‘A sort of sadness seemed to dawn on her face, but then she smiled again.’
    • ‘Realization on what had happened seemed to dawn on him as he saw Ariel and the rest standing around him.’
    • ‘Tan stared blankly for a moment, realization slowly dawning upon his weary mind.’
    • ‘The housemother looked blank for a moment, but then the wisdom of Mma Potokwani's suggestion dawned upon her and she smiled broadly.’
    • ‘It would eventually dawn on the excited passengers that they weren't on the road to Banna - they would soon find themselves in the bog.’
    occur to, come to, come to mind, spring to mind, enter someone's head, enter someone's mind, come into someone's head, come into someone's mind, strike, hit, register with, enter someone's consciousness, flash across someone's mind, pass through someone's mind, cross someone's mind, suggest itself
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Late 15th century (as a verb): back-formation from Middle English dawning.