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90s Slang You Should Know


[yawn] /yɔn/
verb (used without object)
to open the mouth somewhat involuntarily with a prolonged, deep inhalation and sighing or heavy exhalation, as from drowsiness or boredom.
to open wide like a mouth.
to extend or stretch wide, as an open and deep space.
verb (used with object)
to say with a yawn.
Archaic. to open wide, or lay open, as if by yawning.
an act or instance of yawning.
an opening; open space; chasm.
Also, yawner. Informal. something so boring as to make one yawn:
Critics say the new fashions are one big yawn.
Origin of yawn
before 900; Middle English yanen, yonen (v.), alteration of yenen, Old English ge(o)nian; akin to Old English gānian, ginan, Old Norse gīna, G gähnen, Latin hiāre (see hiatus), Greek chaínein to gape (see chasm)
Can be confused
yawn, yon.
1–3. gape. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for yawn
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was a loud and sudden creak, the yawn of a partly open door.

    The Secret Service Submarine Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
  • The Phoenix glanced at the thicket and hid a yawn behind one wing.

    David and the Phoenix Edward Ormondroyd
  • Now I cant stand this any longer, interrupted Vitkin, with a yawn.

    The Duel A. I. Kuprin
  • He is all fault that hath no fault at all, and we poor outsiders all but yawn in his face for his pains.

    The Martian George Du Maurier
  • He used to put his head on one side and yawn when the King of the Cats appeared.

British Dictionary definitions for yawn


(intransitive) to open the mouth wide and take in air deeply, often as in involuntary reaction to tiredness, sleepiness, or boredom
(transitive) to express or utter while yawning
(intransitive) to be open wide as if threatening to engulf (someone or something): the mine shaft yawned below
the act or an instance of yawning
Derived Forms
yawner, noun
yawning, adjective
yawningly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English gionian; related to Old Saxon ginōn, Old High German ginēn to yawn, Old Norse gjā gap
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
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Word Origin and History for yawn

c.1300, yenen, yonen, from Old English ginian, gionian "open the mouth wide, gape," from Proto-Germanic *gin- (cf. Old Norse gina "to yawn," Dutch geeuwen, Old High German ginen, German gähnen "to yawn"), from PIE *ghai- "to yawn, gape" (cf. Old Church Slavonic zijajo "to gape," Lithuanian zioju, Czech zivati "to yawn," Greek khainein, Latin hiare "to yawn, gape," Sanskrit vijihite "to gape, be ajar"). Related: Yawned; yawning.


"act of yawning," 1690s, from yawn (v.). Meaning "boring thing" is attested from 1889.


"act of yawning," 1690s, from yawn (v.). Meaning "boring thing" is attested from 1889.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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yawn in Medicine

yawn (yôn)
v. yawned, yawn·ing, yawns
To open the mouth wide with a deep inhalation, usually involuntarily from drowsiness, fatigue, or boredom. n.
The act of yawning.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for yawn


Related Terms

technicolor yawn

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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