the first appearance of daylight in the morning: Dawn broke over the valley.
the beginning or rise of anything; advent: the dawn of civilization.

verb (used without object)

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

before 1150; Middle English dawen (v.), Old English dagian, derivative of dæg day; akin to Old Norse daga, Middle Dutch, Middle Low German dagen, Old High German tagēn
Related formsdawn·like, adjectiveun·dawned, adjective

Synonyms for dawn

Antonyms for dawn

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

Examples from the Web for dawned

Contemporary Examples of dawned

Historical Examples of dawned

  • It dawned on me, too, that God need not necessarily be to me what He is to others, nor to others what He is to me.

  • He felt thankful when the morning dawned, and it was time to rise.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • It dawned upon him that this was, indeed, not a common crook.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • And suddenly it dawned upon him that all this was an elaborate joke.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • It was our Daisy, robed like a princess, who dawned upon our vision.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

British Dictionary definitions for dawned



daybreak; sunriseRelated adjective: auroral
the sky when light first appears in the morning
the beginning of something

verb (intr)

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)
Derived Formsdawnlike, adjective

Word Origin for dawn

Old English dagian to dawn; see day
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 dawned



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with dawned


In addition to the idiom beginning with dawn

  • dawn on

also see:

  • crack of dawn
  • light dawned
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.