Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Etymology 1[edit]

From Irish bábhún (walled enclosure).


bawn (plural bawns)

  1. A cattle-fort; a building used to shelter cattle.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)
    • 1729, Jonathan Swift, The Grand Question Debated, Thomas Sheridan (editor), John Nichols (editor, revised edition), 1812, The British Classics, Volume 45: The works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, D.D.: Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin, Volume XI, page 163:
      The Grand Question Debated
      Whether Hamilton's Bawn Should be Turned into a Barrack or a Malt-house − 1729
      This Hamilton's bawn, while it sticks in my hand, / I lose by the house what I get by the land; / But how to dispose of it to the best bidder, / For a barrack or malthouse, we now must consider.
    • 1892, Joseph Jacobs (editor), Jack and His Master, Celtic Fairy Tales:
      When he was coming into the bawn at dinner-time, what work did he find Jack at but pulling armfuls of the thatch off the roof, and peeping into the holes he was making?
  2. A defensive wall built around a tower house. It was once used to protect livestock during an attack.
    • 2004, Colm J. Donnelly, Passage or Barrier? Communication between Bawn and Tower House in Late Medieval Ireland – the Evidence from County Limerick, in Château Gaillard 21: Études de castellologie médiévale: La Basse-cour: Actes du colloque international de Maynooth (Irlande), 23-30 août 2002, page 57:
      The cattle, therefore, would be brought into the bawn at night, as is stated by the early 17th-century writer Fynes Moryson who wrote that the Irish cattle “eat only by day, and then are brought at evening within the bawns of castles, where they stand or lie all night in a dirty yard without so much as a lock of hay.”

Etymology 2[edit]



  1. Eye dialect spelling of born.






  1. first-person singular imperfect subjunctive of bod



Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
bawn fawn mawn unchanged
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.