dawn Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun the first light of day
    sunup; daybreak; break of day; dawning; aurora; morning; break of the day; first light; dayspring; cockcrow; sunrise.
    • we got up before dawn
    • they talked until morning
  2. noun the earliest period
    • the dawn of civilization
    • the morning of the world
  3. noun an opening time period
    • it was the dawn of the Roman Empire
  4. verb become clear or enter one's consciousness or emotions
    get through; get across; sink in; come home; fall into place; penetrate; click.
    • It dawned on him that she had betrayed him
    • she was penetrated with sorrow
  5. verb appear or develop
    • The age of computers had dawned
  6. verb become light
    • It started to dawn, and we had to get up


Dawn intransitive verb
OE. dawnen, dawen, dagen, daien, AS. dagian to become day, to dawn, fr. dæg day; akin to D. dagen, G. tagen, Icel. daga, Dan. dages, Sw. dagas. See Day. 71.
imperfect & past participle Dawned ; present participle & verbal noun Dawning
  1. To begin to grow light in the morning; to grow light; to break, or begin to appear; as, the day dawns; the morning dawns.
    In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene . . . to see the sepulcher. Matt. xxviii. 1.
  2. To began to give promise; to begin to appear or to expand. "In dawning youth." Dryden.
    When life awakes, and dawns at every line. Pope.
    Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid. Heber,
Dawn noun
  1. The break of day; the first appeareance of light in the morning; show of approaching sunrise.
    And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve. Thomson.
    No sun, no moon, no morn, no noon, No dawn, no dusk, no proper time of day. Hood.
  2. First opening or expansion; first appearance; beginning; rise. "The dawn of time." Thomson.
    These tender circumstances diffuse a dawn of serenity over the soul. Pope.

Webster 1913