Definition of yawn in English:

yawn

verb

  • 1[no object] Involuntarily open one's mouth wide and inhale deeply due to tiredness or boredom:

    ‘he began yawning and looking at his watch’
    • ‘I blinked my eyes blearily and opened my mouth to yawn, I felt thick and slow.’
    • ‘I yawned and opened the door before my roommate knocked it down.’
    • ‘Kurai says ‘I need a drink’ and then he yawns, covering his mouth with one hand.’
    • ‘Demetre yawned and opened his teary eyes, looking around and spotting Britney still asleep in his arms.’
    • ‘Alexis felt a compelling need to yawn but as she opened her mouth the arm tightened.’
    • ‘The Chartreux cat stared belligerently at Sam, yawned and began licking a black paw.’
    • ‘I opened my mouth to yawn, but before I knew it, I was throwing up on the floor.’
    • ‘He yawns, covering his mouth, and hears the sound of the television playing somewhere in the house.’
    • ‘Stretching forth her sleepy limbs she yawns in tiredness.’
    • ‘Tinara opened her mouth to reply, but she suddenly put a hand to her mouth and yawned.’
    • ‘He yawned, Jok opened his mouth to reply but closed it quickly, he knew he was going to shout and he didn't want Kassa to wake up.’
    • ‘Come ten o'clock in the evening we've generally begun to stretch and yawn, and by ten thirty the house is quiet except for gentle snoring.’
    • ‘I actually have a bit more to share if you haven't already started to yawn in boredom…’
    • ‘Once the fire was stable, he returned to his spot, yawned deeply, and went to sleep.’
    • ‘When young people see us, they either start yawning involuntarily or inhale our old people's smell and start retching.’
    • ‘He didn't look like he smiled that often, but when he opened his mouth to yawn; a set of pearly white teeth were exposed.’
    • ‘Harrieth woke up and rubbed the sleep dust from her eyes, she yawned deeply, throwing her arms out to the side.’
    • ‘Seek yawned, stretching his mouth to an unusually large size and giving a dramatic sigh.’
    • ‘As it hits the back of your mouth or throat try yawning, as this action will open up your throat.’
    • ‘He yawned and inhaled the dusty, musty air that he had become so familiar with over the last five years.’
    gaping, wide open, wide, cavernous, deep
    View synonyms
  • 2usually as adjective yawningBe wide open:

    ‘a yawning chasm’
    • ‘The void between rich and poor is now a yawning chasm and home ownership is but a dream for most young couples.’
    • ‘Does one plug on, rounding out characters, filling in the yawning chasms in the plot?’
    • ‘Our once yawning current account deficit is now coming to resemble lockjaw.’
    • ‘To be confronted by yawning gaps in the stands will prove an embarrassment and one Africa will not live down.’
    • ‘Every bend takes you higher while your breath is suspended looking at the yawning chasm below.’
    • ‘At last we reach the summit, where Alex shrinks back from the yawning chasm.’
    • ‘She would have to pass through great agony to become a part of the great yawning nothingness.’
    • ‘Wordlessly they walked the last few yards to the yawning chasm in the ground, their little fingers linked once more.’
    • ‘In fact, it really just underlines the now yawning chasm between the old and new world approaches to wine.’
    • ‘When you've reached that great yawning chasm of despair and see no hope at all, then it's time to make that call.’
    • ‘Falling stock markets have caused yawning gaps to appear between the assets and liabilities of final salary pension schemes.’
    • ‘Access is through two yawning front doors, or via rear - seat sliding doors.’
    • ‘Rather, cultivate an aura of benign but almost yawning familiarity (but don't snub her either).’
    • ‘The gap between rich and poor has not only widened over the past twenty years it has become a yawning chasm in some instances.’
    • ‘The game had been due to start at 3pm but, at that time, there were yawning expanses of empty seats in all four stands.’
    • ‘Which just goes to show the difference - nay, the yawning chasm!’
    • ‘An image of two yawning voids behind amber glass flashed through her mind.’
    • ‘We teetered on the edge of matchstick viaducts that bridged yawning chasms.’
    • ‘It matters because it tells us of the yawning chasm between Labour's dreams and what happens when it tries to implement a policy.’
    • ‘Getting out to inspect, we discovered a yawning chasm in the middle of the bridge, with two girders going across it.’
    gaping, wide open, wide, cavernous, deep
    large, huge, great, big
    chasmal
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1A reflex act of opening one's mouth wide and inhaling deeply due to tiredness or boredom:

    ‘he stretches and stifles a yawn’
    • ‘It was an era when politics had passion and party political conventions could be dramatic, world-changing events rather than media-manipulated yawns.’
    • ‘Until now, I would have defied anyone to be able to make a documentary on the Somme that didn't reduce the audience to tears, but they managed not just to leave us with dry eyes, but to replace them with yawns.’
    • ‘Hugh Bradley was in the pool recently and said the two boys had yawns as wide as a hippopotamus' mouth.’
    • ‘It's been a couple of weeks since I bought this one, and I'm sure mentioning it will have most people stifling yawns, but that's just tough!’
    • ‘The skeletal mouth opened in a wide yawn, a centipede unknown to Anthony sleeping delicately on his tongue.’
    • ‘Conner rose and stretched, his lupine muzzle gaping wide in a colossal yawn, the muscles rippling across his broad back.’
    • ‘She is the most perfect creation in the world, the most innocent bundle of coos and yawns and mumbles, and my heart breaks every time she focuses on my face.’
    • ‘I don't even try to stifle my yawns while at the in-laws house.’
    • ‘It's a sad day when 90 minutes of football is all about stifling the yawns.’
    • ‘I like to watch late night TV (the only time good programs like 6 Feet Under, ER and arty documentaries are on) and judge my bedtime by the force of gravity and the frequency of my yawns.’
    • ‘But we are tired, and Mum mistakes our tiredness and stifled yawns for boredom.’
    • ‘I spent this period of instruction trying to stifle yawns and resisting saying how old-hat this all seemed.’
    • ‘Sadie's heavy eyelids and swallow-the-earth yawns were entirely down to yet another interminable boredom barrage from Mr Brown.’
    • ‘I tried not to show my boredom, but my yawns were coming quicker and quicker.’
    • ‘It's striking that the fecklessness of the United Nations and the treachery of the French draw so many yawns from establishment commentators and politicians.’
    • ‘Rather than yawns of ‘we're bored’ the students engaged in lively debate with the Minister putting a myriad of questions to her ranging from the EU to the challenges of democracy.’
    • ‘Evie said, she put her hand over her mouth to stifle a yawn.’
    • ‘And, since the good jokes don't come until the final third, a lot of yawns will have to be stifled.’
    • ‘At parties, it was the last thing I wanted to mention, since it was certain to bring yawns and glares of boredom from beer-holding peers.’
    • ‘The transnational morality set can barely stifle their yawns.’
    1. 1.1informal [in singular] A thing that is considered boring or tedious:
      ‘the film is just one big yawn’
      • ‘How are you going to get big voter turnout when everybody seems to think these elections are a big yawn?’
      • ‘It's not a big yawn or an exclusive affair, as most people might think.’
      • ‘If you are part of the Big Five, XYZ is a just a big yawn.’
      • ‘Is Channel 4's new sleep deprivation game show a danger to health or just a big yawn?’
      • ‘The Punakawan parts, which had amusing dialog and action, saved the performance from turning into a big yawn.’
      • ‘But the comedy is ghastly dull, the choreography fussy and boring - a yawn a minute, I thought sourly.’
      • ‘So pausing only to wonder at this weird form of celebrity inflation, in which the words rise and interest disappears with a popping yawn, here is a final thought.’
      • ‘If like the rest of us you feel this year's Big Brother is a bit * yawn * compared to other years then join with us to keep the rebellious Dubliner in the house.’
      • ‘It happened 15 years ago and it's been either a big yawn or a big laugh ever since.’
      • ‘I heard from a relative of someone serving in Fallujah, who said that all the bases around there take mortar fire so frequently that it has become a big yawn for the troops.’
      • ‘Whatever it is I find it a relief to know you can be in your 40's and not turn into a boring middleaged yawn.’
      • ‘People will be looking for the sums and despite the eighty or so people last night, many think that the whole thing is a big yawn.’
      • ‘I hope I'm wrong, but right now the whole issue is just one big yawn.’
      • ‘Anyway, I ended up watching an amateur boxing match, big yawn.’
      • ‘What Ellen MacArthur did is, to my mind, one big yawn.’
      • ‘The sheer Hip-ness of Evolution can feel like a bit of a yawn given the little risk of alienating such a loyal audience by pushing the envelope a touch.’
      • ‘Technologically speaking, the last 100 years of handgun development have been one big yawn.’
      • ‘Because the dirty little secret is that most Americans still greet the MLS with a big yawn.’
      • ‘The horses' reaction to all this was on the order of a yawn - no big deal.’
      • ‘Put frankly, the whole thing was one big yawn which was mitigated only by the fact that it was a beautiful sunny day.’

Origin

Old English geonian, of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin hiare and Greek khainein. Current noun senses date from the early 18th century.

Pronunciation:

yawn

/jɔːn/