There are 2 definitions of wan in English:


Syllabification: wan
Pronunciation: /wän


1(Of a person’s complexion or appearance) pale and giving the impression of illness or exhaustion: she was looking wan and bleary-eyed
More example sentences
  • Eli reminded me of an older Bob Dylan, his size and wan complexion and his face.
  • Judging from his wan appearance, however, it was clear that the show had taken its toll.
  • Outside, the once splendid Nevski Prospekt (St. Petersburg's O'Connell Street) is in need of a lick of paint and seems to be trying desperately to become European, but its people are grey and wan.
pale, pallid, ashen, white, gray; anemic, colorless, bloodless, waxen, chalky, pasty, peaked, sickly, washed out, drained, drawn, ghostly
1.1(Of light) pale; weak: the wan dawn light
More example sentences
  • Eric Gautier photographed it, with frequent and unnecessary use of the wan light and monochromatic effects that are now high-fashion clichés of their own.
  • Instead, our wars exposed the limits of our capability and cast a wan light on many of our cherished illusions.
  • One need only stand in the aisle marked Produce to understand how the wan light obscuring the bruised fruit makes all of our decisions more difficult.
1.2(Of a smile) weak; strained.
More example sentences
  • ‘No, I didn't know that,’ he says quietly, offering a wan smile.
  • My light-hearted offer to provide a dumpster was usually met with a wan smile.
  • In another image, two bored children gaze at the camera, the older one giving the camera a wan smile.
1.3 literary (Of the sea) without luster; dark and gloomy.


Old English wann 'dark, black', of unknown origin.



More example sentences
  • And although the resolution wanly concedes Senate complicity in mob murders, it does little to compensate victims of a racist terrorism that was culture-deep.
  • Una Vita was published in 1892, and wanly noticed; Senilità, published in 1898, sank into oblivion.
  • The mystic overtones of a suffering, bearded and often bare-chested man waving wanly to onlookers gazing up at him have also struck chords.


More example sentences
  • She maintains her wanness behind a cello, bowing away, all woebegone.
  • Then he took the perfumed linen sheet, wrapped it round him as a mantle, and turned away, to the wanness of the chill dawn.
  • Since that little cloud was dispelled all the temporary waste and wanness have vanished.

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Word of the day impudicity
Pronunciation: ˌɪmpjʊˈdɪsɪti
lack of modesty

There are 2 definitions of wan in English:


Syllabification: WAN


Computing Wide area network.
[ 1980s: acronym]

Definition of wan in: