Definition of warn in English:

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Pronunciation: /wôrn/


[reporting verb]
1Inform someone in advance of an impending or possible danger, problem, or other unpleasant situation: [with object]: his father had warned him of what might happen [with direct speech]: “He’s going to humiliate you,” John warned [with clause]: the union warned that its members were close to going on strike
More example sentences
  • The report also warned of the dangers of failing to improve the lot of ordinary Iraqis.
  • It was a habit left over from the old days when the king and his ministers were thus warned of danger.
  • Because of the possible dangers we are warning customers not to use them.
notify, alert, apprise, inform, tell, make someone aware, forewarn, remind, give notice
informal tip off
1.1Give someone forceful or cautionary advice about their actions or conduct: [with object]: friends warned her against the marriage [with object and infinitive]: they warned people not to keep large amounts of cash in their homes [no object]: they warned against false optimism
More example sentences
  • Police are warning drivers to remain cautious today after a winter storm dumped as much as 14 inches of snow on parts of eastern Virginia.
  • Whatever the reason, Shuggy's behaviour eventually prompted a police caution, warning him that if he didn't calm down then he would be in serious trouble.
  • Police are warning the public to be cautious when opening their door to strangers.
advise, exhort, urge, counsel, caution

Phrasal verbs

warn someone off

Tell someone forcefully or threateningly to go away or stay.
1.1Advise someone forcefully against (a particular thing or course of action): he has been warned off booze
More example sentences
  • While many shunned the Ayrshire stockbroker during his period of exile from the tracks - he was warned off for ten years for his part in scandal.
  • Just as he is about to get to the bottom of the affair, he is warned off by the American ambassador in Saigon.
  • Now when John Main began has explorations into meditation he was warned off that path by his own order, was he not?



Example sentences
  • The helicopter's electronic warfare systems include a radar warning receiver, laser warning receiver, missile approach warner and chaff and flare dispensers.
  • The laser warner provides broadband laser frequency coverage to detect and display rangefinding, designating and missile guidance laser threats.
  • The defensive aids suite could include a radar warner, missile launch and approach warner, and chaff and flare decoy dispensers.


Old English war(e)nian, wearnian, from a West Germanic base meaning 'be cautious'; compare with ware2.

Words that rhyme with warn

adorn, born, borne, bourn, Braun, brawn, corn, dawn, drawn, faun, fawn, forborne, forewarn, forlorn, freeborn, lawn, lorn, morn, mourn, newborn, Norn, outworn, pawn, prawn, Quorn, sawn, scorn, Sean, shorn, spawn, suborn, sworn, thorn, thrawn, torn, Vaughan, withdrawn, worn, yawn

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: warn

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