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  1. a young deer, especially an unweaned one.
  2. a light yellowish-brown color.
  1. light yellowish-brown.
verb (used without object)
  1. (of a doe) to bring forth young.

Origin of fawn1

1225–75; Middle English fawn, foun < Middle French faon, foun, feonVulgar Latin *fētōn-, stem of *fētō offspring, derivative of Latin fētus fetus
Related formsfawn·like, adjective
Can be confusedfaun fawn


verb (used without object)
  1. to seek notice or favor by servile demeanor: The courtiers fawned over the king.
  2. (of a dog) to behave affectionately.

Origin of fawn2

before 1000; Middle English fawnen, Old English fagnian, variant of fægnian to rejoice, make glad, derivative of fægen happy; see fain
Related formsfawn·er, nounfawn·ing·ly, adverbfawn·ing·ness, noun


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1. toady, truckle, flatter, kowtow.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for fawning


  1. a young deer of either sex aged under one year
    1. a light greyish-brown colour
    2. (as adjective)a fawn raincoat
  2. in fawn (of deer) pregnant
  1. (of deer) to bear (young)
Derived Formsfawnlike, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Old French faon, from Latin fētus offspring; see fetus


verb (intr; often foll by on or upon)
  1. to seek attention and admiration (from) by cringing and flattering
  2. (of animals, esp dogs) to try to please by a show of extreme friendliness and fondness (towards)
Derived Formsfawner, nounfawning, adjectivefawningly, adverbfawningness, noun

Word Origin

Old English fægnian to be glad, from fægen glad; see fain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fawning



"young deer," mid-14c., from Anglo-French (late 13c.), Old French faon, feon "young animal" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *fetonem (nominative *feto), from Latin fetus "an offspring" (see fetus). Still used of the young of any animal in King James I's private translation of the Psalms, but mainly of deer from 15c. Color use is 1881.



Old English fægnian "rejoice, be glad, exult," from fægen "glad" (see fain); used in Middle English to refer to expressions of delight, especially a dog wagging its tail (early 13c.), hence "court favor, grovel, act slavishly" (early 14c.). Related: Fawned; fawning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper