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See also: Daw, DAW, daW, and d'aw



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English dawe, from Old English dāwe, from Proto-Germanic *dēhǭ (compare German Dahle, Dohle, dialectal Tach), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰākʷ- (compare Old Prussian doacke (starling)).


daw (plural daws)

  1. A western jackdaw, Coloeus monedula; a bird of crow family, more commonly called jackdaw.
    • Waller
      The loud daw, his throat displaying, draws / The whole assembly of his fellow daws.
    • 1603, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Othello, Act 1
      [...]But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
      For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.
  2. (obsolete) An idiot, a simpleton; fool.
    • 2002, Joseph O'Connor, Star of the Sea, Vintage 2003, p.
      ‘Of course I do, you great daw.’ She kissed his beautiful mouth and moved his fringe out of his eyes.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English dawen, from Old English dagian (to dawn), from Proto-Germanic *dagāną (to become day, dawn), from Proto-Germanic *dagaz (day), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰegʷʰ- (to burn). More at day, dawn.


daw (third-person singular simple present daws, present participle dawing, simple past and past participle dawed)

  1. (obsolete outside Scotland) To dawn.
  2. (obsolete) To wake (someone) up.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter 10, in Le Morte Darthur, book XI:
      ANd whanne the Quene herd them saye soo / she felle to the erthe in a dede swoune / and thenne syr Bors took her vp / and dawed her / & whanne she was awaked she kneled afore the thre knyghtes / and helde vp bothe their handes and besoughte them to seke hym
  3. (obsolete) To daunt; to terrify.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ben Jonson to this entry?)

Derived terms[edit]




Alternative forms[edit]



  1. third-person singular present / future of dod


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