- a bristlelike appendage of a plant, especially on the glumes of grasses.
- such appendages collectively, as those forming the beard of wheat, barley, etc.
- any similar bristle.
Origin of awn
Examples from the Web for awn
The fourth glume is the flattened base of the awn, epaleate.A Handbook of Some South Indian Grasses
Rai Bahadur K. Ranga Achariyar
In the locality this was called “picklin in his awn poke neuk.”Lives of the Engineers
The little I have is free, and I can call it my awn—hame's hame, let it be never so hamely.The History of John Bull
Bear, my dearest friend, bear is all they have, and wonderment it is to me that they ever see an awn of it.The Pirate
Sir Walter Scott
The awn or beard is merely an elongation of the palea inferior.
- any of the bristles growing from the spikelets of certain grasses, including cereals
Word Origin and History for awn
"bristly fibers on grain of plants," c.1300, from Old Norse ögn, from Proto-Germanic *agano (cf. Old English egenu, Old High German agana, German Ahne, Gothic ahana), from PIE *ak-ona- (cf. Sanskrit asani- "arrowhead," Greek akhne "husk of wheat," Latin acus "chaff," Lithuanian akuotas "beard, awn"); suffixed form of PIE root *ak- "sharp" (see acrid).
- A slender, bristlelike appendage found on the spikelets of many grasses.