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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English dawnynge, an alteration of dawing, under the influence of North Germanic cognates (compare Swedish, Danish dagning). See daw (to dawn).



dawning (plural dawnings)

  1. (now chiefly poetic) Dawn.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter IX, in Le Morte Darthur, book II:
      Anone after cam the knyght with the two swerdes and balan his broder / and brought with hem kynge Ryons of Northwalys and there delyuerd hym to the porters and charged hem with hym / & soo they two retorned ageyne in the daunyng of the day []
    • 1824, James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Oxford 2010, p. 32:
      [] he arose to make an excursion to the top of Arthur's Seat, to breathe the breeze of the dawning, and see the sun arise out of the eastern ocean.
    • 1874, James Thomson, The City of Dreadful Night
      never there / Can come the lucid morning's fragrant breath / After the dewy dawning's cold grey air
    • 1906, Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman:
      He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
      And out o' the tawny sunset, before the rise o' the moon,
      When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,
      A red-coat troop came marching—
      King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.
  2. The first beginnings of something.




  1. present participle of dawn