[ dohnt ]
See synonyms for don't on
  1. contraction of do not.

  2. Nonstandard except in some dialects. contraction of does not.

  1. don'ts, customs, rules, or regulations that forbid something: The boss has a long list of don'ts that you had better observe if you want a promotion.: Compare do1 (def. 55).

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Origin of don't

First recorded in 1600–10

word story For don't

Don't is the standard contraction for do not. As a contraction for does not, don't first appeared in writing in the latter half of the 17th century, about the same time as the first written appearance of other contracted forms with not, like mayn't and can't. Don't remained the standard contraction for does not in both speech and writing through the 18th century. During the 19th century, under pressure from those who thought it illogical and who preferred doesn't in that use, don't for does not gradually became less frequent in writing but continued to be common in speech. Don't for does not still occurs in the informal speech and in the personal writing of many Americans, including the well educated, especially in the Midland and Southern dialects. It does not occur in edited writing or formal speech.

Words Nearby don't Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use don't in a sentence

  • Such I-don't-know-you behavior is the hallmark of a manager who feels vulnerable in his or her own position—or is just a jerk.

    An Employee Bill of Rights | Jack And Suzy Welch | March 4, 2009 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • D-d-don't tell me you've finally caught Black Hood, Sergeant!

  • As for you, Miss Aileen Armagh-and-don't-yer-forget-it, you can't pull away from me now.

    Flamsted quarries | Mary E. Waller
  • You d-don't underthtand—I'm going to find my plathe in the world—I don't belong here.

    Ptomaine Street | Carolyn Wells
  • I d-don't think his religion struck in very deep, and it don't worry him much.

    Ben Comee | M. J. (Michael Joseph) Canavan
  • D-d-don't know how m-m-many more might be around on the other s-s-side of the house.

    Chums of the Camp Fire | Lawrence J. Leslie

British Dictionary definitions for don't


/ (dəʊnt) /

contraction of
  1. do not

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