View synonyms for wane


[ weyn ]

verb (used without object)

, waned, wan·ing.
  1. to decrease in strength, intensity, etc.:

    Daylight waned, and night came on.

    Her enthusiasm for the cause is waning.

    Synonyms: sink, fail, diminish

  2. to decline in power, importance, prosperity, etc.:

    Colonialism began to wane after World War II.

    Synonyms: sink, fail, diminish

  3. to draw to a close; approach an end:

    Summer is waning.

  4. (of the moon) to decrease periodically in the extent of its illuminated portion after the full moon. Compare wax 2( def 2 ).


  1. a gradual decrease or decline in strength, intensity, power, etc.

    Synonyms: decay, failure, diminution

  2. the drawing to a close of life, an era, a period, etc.
  3. the waning of the moon.
  4. a period of waning.
  5. a defect in a plank or board characterized by bark or insufficient wood at a corner or along an edge, due to the curvature of the log.


/ weɪn /


  1. (of the moon) to show a gradually decreasing portion of illuminated surface, between full moon and new moon Compare wax 2
  2. to decrease gradually in size, strength, power, etc
  3. to draw to a close


  1. a decrease, as in size, strength, power, etc
  2. the period during which the moon wanes
  3. the act or an instance of drawing to a close
  4. a rounded surface or defective edge of a plank, where the bark was
  5. on the wane
    in a state of decline

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Derived Forms

  • ˈwaney, adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of wane1

First recorded before 900; Middle English verb wanen, Old English wanian “to lessen”; cognate with Middle Dutch, Middle High German wanen, Old Norse vana “to cause to wane, destroy”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of wane1

Old English wanian (vb); related to wan-, prefix indicating privation, wana defect, Old Norse vana

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. on the wane, decreasing; diminishing:

    The popularity of that song is on the wane.

More idioms and phrases containing wane

see wax and wane .

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Example Sentences

At their best, road races can still provide the in-person communal experience that was already on the wane before the pandemic accelerated the forces of alienation and digital cocooning.

The idea of putting in eight hours a day, five days a week was already on the wane for many millennial and Gen Z workers, long before the arrival of Covid-19.

From Digiday

The waxing in those Wall Street staples as the results in consumer wane is what’s supporting JPMorgan in the crisis.

From Fortune

Some might believe bureaucracy is on the wane, that it’s headed for the same fate as landline telephones or gas­-powered cars.

From Quartz

The moon was a ribbon-thin waning crescent, and I found the vast dark, with no city lights, almost terrifying to take in.

Today, liberal Protestantism is on the wane, and optimistic postmillennialism along with it.

On defense, Republican small government orthodoxy tends to wane.

There is also statistical evidence to suggest that FGM may be on the wane.

Until last night, the conventional wisdom in Washington was that the Tea Party was on the wane.

The South can block some things, but eventually even that power will wane.

Primo de Rivera, who believed the rebellion to be fast on the wane, shipped back to Spain 7,000 troops.

But Mrs. Charmington was already on the wane, and as he had no wish to be her hero now he rather fought shy of her.

The moon was rising, its reddish disk somewhat diminished from being on the wane.

The one is religious, the other a civil power; the one may wane, the other rise.

The exchange of places was made, but after Fred had rowed for an hour or more his confidence also began to wane.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.