• synonyms


See more synonyms for wain on Thesaurus.com
  1. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. Charles's Wain.
  2. a farm wagon or cart.
Show More

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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for wains

Historical Examples

  • They shove the Worm over the cliff into the sea, and bear off the treasure in wains.

    The Tale of Beowulf


  • In the train of wains laden with supplies a man lay on top of the goods.

  • The wains stopped; the pedestrians halted and gaped and gasped.

  • "Maybe Mrs. Boyle an' th' wains are as hungry as we are," Anna remarked.

  • Most of us are away with the wains, and others make holiday.

    The Lady Of Blossholme

    H. Rider Haggard

British Dictionary definitions for wains


  1. mainly poetic a farm wagon or cart
Show More

Word Origin

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)
Show More
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 wains



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).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper