- of an unnatural or sickly pallor; pallid; lacking color: His wan face suddenly flushed.
- showing or suggesting ill health, fatigue, unhappiness, etc.: a wan look; a wan smile.
- lacking in forcefulness, competence, or effectiveness: their wan attempts to organize the alumni.
- dark or gloomy.
- pale in color or hue.
- to become or make wan.
Origin of wan1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for wan on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for wanly
Desire smiled too, wanly and without the least approach to mirth.The Law of the North (Originally published as Empery)
Samuel Alexander White
Don Jaime went at once to the side of the wanly smiling matador.The Wolf Cub
"Not less than a table d'hote will hold you," Charity smiled, wanly.We Can't Have Everything
But the shields were now wanly gleaming and the sky was the sky of night.The Metal Monster
"You'd better take out the piano again," said Mrs. Brown wanly.More William
- unnaturally pale esp from sickness, grief, etc
- characteristic or suggestive of ill health, unhappiness, etc
- (of light, stars, etc) faint or dim
- to make or become wan
- wide area network
- Nigeria (international car registration)
Word Origin and History for wanly
Old English wann "dark, lacking luster," later "leaden, pale, gray," of uncertain origin, and not found in other Germanic languages. The connecting notion is colorlessness. Perhaps related to wane.
- Short for wide area network.A communications network that uses such devices as telephone lines, satellite dishes, or radio waves to span a larger geographic area than can be covered by a LAN. The Internet is a WAN.