Partly from Middle English yanen (“to yawn”), from Old English ġānian, from Proto-Germanic *ganōną (compare North Frisian jåne, Saterland Frisian jaanje, Dutch geeuwen, German gähnen, dialectal Swedish gana (“to gape, gawk”)), denominative of *ganaz (compare Swedish gan (“gullet, maw”)); 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”)), all from the Germanic root *gīn-.
The Germanic forms are from a Proto-Indo-European root *ǵʰei- or *ǵʰeh₂-; compare Old Church Slavonic зѣѭ (zějǫ) (Russian зи́нуть (zínutʹ), зия́ть (zijátʹ)), Greek χαίνω (khaínō)), Latin hiō, Tocharian A śew, Tocharian B kāyā, Lithuanian žioti, Russian, Sanskrit जेह् (jeh); also with -u- extension (*ǵʰ(e)h₂u-) in English gum (Germanic *gōmô), Greek χάος (kháos).
- (UK) enPR: yôn, IPA(key): /jɔːn/
- Rhymes: -ɔːn
- (US) enPR: yôn, IPA(key): /jɔn/
- (cot–caught merger) enPR: yän, IPA(key): /jɑn/
Audio (US) (file)
- 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.
- And while above he spends his breath, / The yawning audience nod beneath.
- 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.
- 'Tis now the very witching time of night, / When churchyards yawn.
- To open the mouth, or to gape, through surprise or bewilderment.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
- To be eager; to desire to swallow anything; to express desire by yawning.
- to yawn for fat livings
- one long, yawning gaze
yawn (plural yawns)
- The action of yawning; opening the mouth widely and taking a long, rather deep breath, often because one is tired.
- A particularly boring event.
- The slideshow we sat through was such a yawn. I was glad when it finished.