• synonyms


See more synonyms for wan on Thesaurus.com
adjective, wan·ner, wan·nest.
  1. of an unnatural or sickly pallor; pallid; lacking color: His wan face suddenly flushed.
  2. showing or suggesting ill health, fatigue, unhappiness, etc.: a wan look; a wan smile.
  3. lacking in forcefulness, competence, or effectiveness: their wan attempts to organize the alumni.
  4. Archaic.
    1. dark or gloomy.
    2. pale in color or hue.
Show More
verb (used with or without object), wanned, wan·ning.
  1. to become or make wan.
Show More

Origin of wan1

before 900; Middle English; Old English wann dark, gloomy
Related formswan·ly, adverbwan·ness, noun
Can be confusedone wan won


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. ashen. See pale1. 3. feeble, weak, half-hearted, lame.


1. ruddy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for wanness

Historical Examples

  • There was a wanness, a heaviness of aspect, that made him look ten years older.

    Lover or Friend

    Rosa Nouchette Carey

  • It was the last phase, the feebleness, the wanness, the inertia!

    The Blind Spot

    Austin Hall

  • Vague lines of wanness betrayed the place of the cement walks.

  • Since that little cloud was dispelled all the temporary waste and wanness have vanished.


    Charlotte Bront

  • She saw no talons or beak, but a wanness which, indeed, suggested a skeleton.

    The Way of the Gods

    John Luther Long

British Dictionary definitions for wanness


adjective wanner or wannest
  1. unnaturally pale esp from sickness, grief, etc
  2. characteristic or suggestive of ill health, unhappiness, etc
  3. (of light, stars, etc) faint or dim
Show More
verb wans, wanning or wanned
  1. to make or become wan
Show More
Derived Formswanly, adverbwanness, noun

Word Origin

Old English wann dark; related to wanian to wane


abbreviation for
  1. wide area network
  2. Nigeria (international car registration)
Show More

Word Origin

From W(est) A(frica) N(igeria)
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 wanness



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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wanness in Science


  1. 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.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.