verb (used with object), shunned, shun·ning.

to keep away from (a place, person, object, etc.), from motives of dislike, caution, etc.; take pains to avoid.

Origin of shun

before 950; Middle English shunen, Old English scunian to avoid, fear
Related formsshun·na·ble, adjectiveshun·ner, nounun·shun·na·ble, adjectiveun·shunned, adjective

Synonyms for shun

Antonyms for shun



noun Wade-Giles, Pinyin.

See under Yao.




Wade-Giles, Pinyin. a legendary emperor of China who, with his successor (Shun), was a paragon of good government. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shun

Contemporary Examples of shun

Historical Examples of shun

  • Above all, shun the snares of women, for they are ever set for the foolish feet of the young.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • I have been early taught to shun all allusion to his memory.

  • He had shunned her presence from the first: and she had grown now to shun him.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • Should a woman you scarcely know try the trick on you—shun her.

    Cleo The Magnificent

    Louis Zangwill

  • But for that end he must move through the living world—not shun it.

    Cleo The Magnificent

    Louis Zangwill

British Dictionary definitions for shun


verb shuns, shunning or shunned

(tr) to avoid deliberately; keep away from
Derived Formsshunnable, adjectiveshunner, noun

Word Origin for shun

Old English scunian, of obscure origin
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 shun

Old English scunian "to shun, avoid; abhor; desist, abstain; to hide, seek safety by concealment," of uncertain origin; not found in any other language. Perhaps ultimately from PIE root *skeu- "to cover, to hide." Related: Shunned; shunning. A shun-pike (American English, 1911) was a road constructed to avoid tolls.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper