See more synonyms for wain on Thesaurus.com

Origin of wain

before 900; Middle English; Old English wægn, wǣn, cognate with Dutch wagen, German Wagen. See weigh1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wain

Contemporary Examples of wain

Historical Examples of wain

  • Then he hoisted the tree on to the wain, roped it into place, and told the cartman to drive on.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • Then, all at once, a wain had stood at the gate: the servants hastened to open it.

    Debts of Honor

    Maurus Jkai

  • Lorand pointed speechlessly to the wain, and could not tell them.

    Debts of Honor

    Maurus Jkai

  • And after the wain, on foot, the two brothers, hand in hand.

    Debts of Honor

    Maurus Jkai

  • With the Wenman, who drove the wain, we may mention the Leader or Loader.

    The Romance of Names

    Ernest Weekley

British Dictionary definitions for wain


  1. mainly poetic a farm wagon or cart

Word Origin for wain

Old English wægn; related to Old Frisian wein, Old Norse vagn


  1. John (Barrington). 1925–94, British novelist, poet, and critic. His novels include Hurry on Down (1953), Strike the Father Dead (1962), and Young Shoulders (1982)
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 wain

Old English wægn "wheeled vehicle," from Proto-Germanic *wagnaz (see wagon). Largely fallen from use by c.1600, but kept alive by poets, who found it easier to rhyme on than wagon. As a name for the Big Dipper/Plough, it is from Old English (see Charles's Wain).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper