Main definitions of wan in English

: wan1WAN2

wan1

adjective

  • 1(of a person's complexion or appearance) pale and giving the impression of illness or exhaustion.

    ‘she was looking wan and bleary-eyed’
    • ‘Eli reminded me of an older Bob Dylan, his size and wan complexion and his face.’
    • ‘Judging from his wan appearance, however, it was clear that the show had taken its toll.’
    • ‘‘After several days of flying in space, the astronauts may look wan and sallow, so medical staff will put make-up on them to make them look ruddy,’ the newspaper said.’
    • ‘Outside, the once splendid Nevski Prospekt (St. Petersburg's O'Connell Street) is in need of a lick of paint and seems to be trying desperately to become European, but its people are grey and wan.’
    • ‘Estelle grew from a wan, sickly child into a lovely maiden, her skin pale as the moonlight and hair as raven as the starless night.’
    • ‘When he arrived home that night, he looked wan, slightly more drained than usual.’
    • ‘Doyle still slept, looking wan and exhausted, but that hint of a smile was still there.’
    • ‘Anyway - if you feel the need to be pasty, wan and outraged, you can always write to me and tell me how you feel.’
    • ‘Körbes, normally luminous on the State Theater stage, here never seemed to come alive, looking wan and passive, and was completely overshadowed by either.’
    • ‘Warhol devised the most telling face of fame - wan, bleached out, with a camera hanging from the neck.’
    pale, pallid, ashen, white, white as a sheet, grey
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of light) pale; weak.
      ‘the wan dawn light’
      • ‘It could just be the light, but she looks pretty wan to me, and too skinny - like the one in four women under 25 who now describe themselves as vegetarians.’
      • ‘Eric Gautier photographed it, with frequent and unnecessary use of the wan light and monochromatic effects that are now high-fashion clichés of their own.’
      • ‘The stones on the bottom of the brook were flat and greenish in the wan afternoon light.’
      • ‘There might not be as many shadows to cling to, but the light from lamp posts was wan and deceiving; he could hide well enough if he needed to.’
      • ‘She leaned forward, elbows on knees and her head in the wan moonlight as she smiled.’
      • ‘Sunlight filtered upon their tired, wan faces and I knew I looked the same.’
      • ‘Instead, our wars exposed the limits of our capability and cast a wan light on many of our cherished illusions.’
      • ‘One need only stand in the aisle marked Produce to understand how the wan light obscuring the bruised fruit makes all of our decisions more difficult.’
      dim, faint, weak, feeble, pale, watery, wishy-washy
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a smile) weak; strained.
      • ‘Sarah looked up from her conversation with Jake with a wan smile.’
      • ‘Elsa shook it off with a shrug of the shoulders and a wan smile.’
      • ‘He glanced over his shoulders at his slightly meaner looking co-workers and offered Mary a wan smile.’
      • ‘She gave him a wan smile when she saw him, and lifted herself to a sitting position carefully.’
      • ‘My light-hearted offer to provide a dumpster was usually met with a wan smile.’
      • ‘John insisted on kissing them as well, bringing the first wan smiles to their faces after the events of the night.’
      • ‘The secretary looked up momentarily and gave her a wan smile.’
      • ‘‘Total dedication,’ she said with a somewhat wan smile: she had come in on the day of my visit despite being in intense pain from a suspected slipped disc.’
      • ‘Other bands might get away with this on intensity alone, but Harcourt's straightforward, predictable manner leaves his wan material desperately lacking.’
      • ‘But he gives her a wan smile, the best he can manage under the circumstances.’
      • ‘I wasn't, though I probably just murmured something vague in reply, and I may have given a wan smile.’
      • ‘Often the answer would be in the form of a wan smile or silence.’
      • ‘‘No, I didn't know that,’ he says quietly, offering a wan smile.’
      • ‘But her gaze cleared, and she managed a wan smile.’
      • ‘Ellen suppressed another shudder and gave a wan smile that she hoped he would take to mean the week would be a long one for her.’
      • ‘He gave Jean a wan smile before grabbing a baguette at the table.’
      • ‘Allyson paused, listening to the soft melody, a shy smile spreading over her wan features.’
      • ‘And so, I walked in without my customary bright smile, wan, blinking hard.’
      • ‘She smiled a wan sort of smile, and glanced around at what should be the living room.’
      • ‘I gave him a wan smile, ‘As well as can be expected, I suppose.’’
      • ‘In another image, two bored children gaze at the camera, the older one giving the camera a wan smile.’
      • ‘‘Hello, Susanna,’ Westley said, a wan smile on his face.’
      • ‘The woman sitting next to me, a blonde South African wearing jeans and fashionable spectacles looks at me, raises an eyebrow, gives me a wan smile and gets up to leave.’
      • ‘The smile she gave Wanda Bryk was the rueful, wan, chastened smile of someone who had just come through a crying spell.’
      • ‘‘I actually didn't think that was a big deal,’ says Pottruck, a wan smile playing across his broad face.’
      • ‘When deep brown eyes finally opened and she stared up at him, she gave him a wan smile that caused a cringe as the sore skin on her cheek stretched greatly.’
      • ‘With a wan smile, Delaney removed her license from her wallet and showed it to him.’
      • ‘‘Come on then,’ he said, and gave her a wan smile.’
      • ‘She almost manages a wan smile, but misses a bit on the execution.’
      • ‘Tamani offered him a wan smile, ‘Thank you, Sir Pontelau.’’
      • ‘She gazes toward, but beyond the viewer with a slightly wan and wistful smile, as though she has a secret somewhere deep inside.’
      • ‘Amy gave her a wan smile, and moved to stand beside her. her eyes were red from crying, and her armour was mangled in more than a few places.’
      • ‘Sighing wearily, Isabella shifted her gaze to her mother with a wan smile on her lips.’
    3. 1.3literary (of the sea) without luster; dark and gloomy.

Origin

Old English wann ‘dark, black’, of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

wan

/wän//wɑn/

Main definitions of wan in English

: wan1WAN2

WAN2

Computing
  • Wide area network.

Pronunciation

WAN

/wan//wæn/