an

1
[ uh n; when stressed an ]
/ ən; when stressed æn /

indefinite article

the form of a before an initial vowel sound (an arch; an honor) and sometimes, especially in British English, before an initial unstressed syllable beginning with a silent or weakly pronounced h: an historian.

Nearby words

  1. amytal,
  2. amythaon,
  3. amyxia,
  4. amyxorrhea,
  5. amūn,
  6. an apple a day,
  7. an apple a day keeps the doctor away,
  8. an arm and a leg,
  9. an army marches on its stomach,
  10. an eye for an eye

Origin of an

1
before 950; Middle English; Old English ān one in a weakened sense

Usage note

See a1.

an

2
[ uh n; when stressed an ]
/ ən; when stressed æn /

conjunction

Pronunciation Spelling. and.
Archaic. if.
Also an', 'n, 'n'.

Origin of an

2
1125–75; Middle English, unstressed phonetic variant of and

An

[ ahn ]
/ ɑn /

noun

the Sumerian god of heaven: the counterpart of the Akkadian Anu.

An

Symbol, Chemistry.

AN

or A.-N.

an-

1

a prefix occurring before stems beginning with a vowel or h in loanwords from Greek, where it means “not,” “without,” “lacking” (anarchy; anecdote); used in the formation of compound words: anelectric.
Also before a consonant, a-.

Origin of an-

1
< Greek. See a-6, in-3, un-1

an-

2

variant of ad- before n: announce.

an-

3

variant of ana- before a vowel: anion.

an.

in the year.

Origin of an.

From the Latin word annō

A.N.

Associate in Nursing.

-an

a suffix occurring originally in adjectives borrowed from Latin, formed from nouns denoting places (Roman; urban) or persons (Augustan), and now productively forming English adjectives by extension of the Latin pattern. Attached to geographic names, it denotes provenance or membership (American; Chicagoan; Tibetan), the latter sense now extended to membership in social classes, religious denominations, etc., in adjectives formed from various kinds of noun bases (Episcopalian; pedestrian; Puritan; Republican) and membership in zoological taxa (acanthocephalan; crustacean). Attached to personal names, it has the additional senses “contemporary with” (Elizabethan; Jacobean) or “proponent of” (Hegelian; Freudian) the person specified by the noun base. The suffix -an, and its variant -ian also occurs in a set of personal nouns, mainly loanwords from French, denoting one who engages in, practices, or works with the referent of the base noun (comedian; grammarian; historian; theologian); this usage is especially productive with nouns ending in -ic (electrician; logician; technician). See -ian for relative distribution with that suffix.
Compare -enne, -ean, -arian, -ician.

Origin of -an

Middle English < Latin -ānus, -āna, -ānum; in some words replacing -ain, -en < Old French < Latin

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for an

an

1
/ (æn, unstressed ən) /

determiner

a form of the indefinite article used before an initial vowel soundan old car; an elf; an honour

Word Origin for an

Old English ān one

usage

An was formerly often used before words that begin with h and are unstressed on the first syllable: an hotel; an historic meeting . Sometimes the initial h was not pronounced. This usage is now becoming obsolete

conjunction

(subordinating) an obsolete or dialect word for if See and (def. 9)

the internet domain name for

Netherlands Antilles

An

1
/ (ɑːn) /

noun

myth the Sumerian sky godBabylonian counterpart: Anu

An

2

the chemical symbol for

actinon

AN

abbreviation for

Anglo-Norman

an-

before a consonant a-

prefix

not; withoutanaphrodisiac

Word Origin for an-

from Greek

-an

-ean or -ian

suffix

(forming adjectives and nouns) belonging to or relating to; a person belonging to or coming fromEuropean
(forming adjectives and nouns) typical of or resembling; a person typical ofElizabethan
(forming adjectives and nouns) adhering to or following; an adherent ofChristian
(forming nouns) a person who specializes or is expert indietitian; phonetician

Word Origin for -an

from Latin -ānus, suffix of adjectives

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 an
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for an

an-

pref.

Variant ofa-

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.