Definition of yawn in English:


Line breaks: yawn
Pronunciation: /jɔːn


1 [no object] Involuntarily open one’s mouth wide and inhale deeply due to tiredness or boredom: he began yawning and looking at his watch
More example sentences
  • Tinara opened her mouth to reply, but she suddenly put a hand to her mouth and yawned.
  • Alexis felt a compelling need to yawn but as she opened her mouth the arm tightened.
  • As it hits the back of your mouth or throat try yawning, as this action will open up your throat.
2 (usually as adjective yawning) Be wide open: a yawning chasm
More example sentences
  • She would have to pass through great agony to become a part of the great yawning nothingness.
  • Does one plug on, rounding out characters, filling in the yawning chasms in the plot?
  • The void between rich and poor is now a yawning chasm and home ownership is but a dream for most young couples.
gaping, wide open, wide, cavernous, deep;
large, huge, great, big
rare chasmal


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1A reflex act of opening one’s mouth wide and inhaling deeply due to tiredness or boredom: he stretches and stifles a yawn
More example sentences
  • Hugh Bradley was in the pool recently and said the two boys had yawns as wide as a hippopotamus' mouth.
  • I tried not to show my boredom, but my yawns were coming quicker and quicker.
  • And, since the good jokes don't come until the final third, a lot of yawns will have to be stifled.
1.1 [in singular] informal A thing that is considered boring or tedious: the film is just one big yawn
More example sentences
  • How are you going to get big voter turnout when everybody seems to think these elections are a big yawn?
  • Because the dirty little secret is that most Americans still greet the MLS with a big yawn.
  • It happened 15 years ago and it's been either a big yawn or a big laugh ever since.


Old English geonian, of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin hiare and Greek khainein. Current noun senses date from the early 18th century.



More example sentences
  • Still, it wasn't unusual for a typical pattern to arise, almost yawningly predictable.
  • As ever, the building's the Star, the exhibits yawningly, unyieldingly tiresome.
  • Rashly, Theresa accepts a second date with Tony at which the gulf between them becomes yawningly apparent.

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