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wain

[weyn]
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noun
  1. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. Charles's Wain.
  2. a farm wagon or cart.
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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 wains

Historical Examples

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

    The Tale of Beowulf

    Anonymous

  • 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

wain

noun
  1. mainly poetic a farm wagon or cart
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Word Origin

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

Wain

noun
  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)
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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

wain

n.

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper