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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. (chiefly poetic) Dawn.
    • [1470–1485 (date produced), Thomas Malory, “Capitulum ix”, in [Le Morte Darthur], book II (in Middle English), [London: [] by William Caxton], published 31 July 1485, OCLC 71490786, leaf 43, verso; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur [], London: David Nutt, [], 1889, OCLC 890162034, lines 6–10, page 86:
      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 ⸝ []
      Anon [i.e., soon] after came the knight with the two swords and Balan his brother, and brought with them King Ryons of North Wales and there delivered him to the porters and charged them with him, and so they returned again in the dawning of the day, []]
    • 1824, James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Oxford 2010, page 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.
    • 1870–1874, James Thomson, “The City of Dreadful Night”, in The City of Dreadful Night and Other Poems, London: Reeves and Turner, [], published 1880, OCLC 492031197, part I, stanza 1, page 3:
      The City is of Night; perchance of Death, / But certainly of Night; for never there / Can come the lucid morning's fragrant breath / After the dewy dawning’s cold grey air; []
    • 1906 August, Alfred Noyes, “The Highwayman”, in Poems, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., published October 1906, OCLC 28569419, part 2, stanza I, pages 48–49:
      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— / Marching—marching— / King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.
  2. The first beginnings of something.




  1. present participle of dawn