- the first appearance of daylight in the morning: Dawn broke over the valley.
- the beginning or rise of anything; advent: the dawn of civilization.
- to begin to grow light in the morning: The day dawned with a cloudless sky.
- to begin to open or develop.
- to begin to be perceived (usually followed by on): The idea dawned on him.
Origin of dawn
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- daybreak; sunriseRelated adjective: auroral
- the sky when light first appears in the morning
- the beginning of something
- to begin to grow light after the night
- to begin to develop, appear, or expand
- (usually foll by on or upon) to begin to become apparent (to)
Word Origin and History for dawn on
1590s, from dawn (v.).
c.1200, dauen, "to dawn, grow light," shortened or back-formed from dauinge, dauing "period between darkness and sunrise," (c.1200), from Old English dagung, from dagian "to become day," from root of dæg "day" (see day). Probably influenced by a Scandinavian word (cf. Danish dagning, Old Norse dagan "a dawning;" cf. also German tagen "to dawn"). Related: Dawned; dawning.
Idioms and Phrases with dawn on
Also, dawn upon. Become evident or understood, as in It finally dawned on him that he was expected to call them, or Around noon it dawned upon me that I had never eaten breakfast. This expression transfers the beginning of daylight to the beginning of a thought process. Harriet Beecher Stowe had it in Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852): “The idea that they had either feelings or rights had never dawned upon her.” [Mid-1800s]