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


Wikipedia has an article on:


A kitten yawning.



  1. Partly from Middle English yanen (to yawn), from Old English ġānian, from Proto-Germanic *ganōną (compare North Frisian jåne, German gähnen, dialectal Swedish gana (to gape, gawk)), denominative of *ganaz (compare Swedish gan (gullet, maw));
  2. and partly from Middle English yenen, yonen (to yawn), from Old English ġinian, ġionian, frequentative of ġīnan, from Proto-Germanic *gīnaną (compare Norwegian gina (to gape)), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰih₁-neh₂ (compare Russian зинуть (zínutʹ), Greek χαίνω (chaíno));
  3. both from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰeh₂u- (to yawn, gape) (compare Dutch geeuwen, Latin hiō, Tocharian A śew, Tocharian B kāyā, Lithuanian žioti, Russian зия́ть (zijátʹ), Sanskrit विजिहीते (vijihīte).


yawn (third-person singular simple present yawns, present participle yawning, simple past and past participle yawned)

  1. To open the mouth widely and take a long, rather deep breath, often because one is tired and sometimes accompanied by pandiculation.
    I could see my students yawning, so I knew the lesson was boring them.
    • Trumbull
      And while above he spends his breath, / The yawning audience nod beneath.
  2. To present a wide opening.
    The canyon yawns as it has done for millions of years, and we stand looking, dumbstruck.
    Death yawned before us, and I hit the brakes.
    • Shakespeare
      'Tis now the very witching time of night, / When churchyards yawn.
  3. To open the mouth, or to gape, through surprise or bewilderment.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  4. To be eager; to desire to swallow anything; to express desire by yawning.
    to yawn for fat livings
    • Landor
      one long, yawning gaze



yawn (plural yawns)

  1. The action of yawning; opening the mouth widely and taking a long, rather deep breath, often because one is tired.
  2. A particularly boring event.
    The slideshow we sat through was such a yawn. I was glad when it finished.

Derived terms[edit]