"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[won] /wɒn/
adjective, wanner, wannest.
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.
  1. dark or gloomy.
  2. pale in color or hue.
verb (used without object), verb (used with object), wanned, wanning.
to become or make wan.
Origin of wan1
before 900; Middle English; Old English wann dark, gloomy
Related forms
wanly, adverb
wanness, noun
Can be confused
one, wan, won.
1. ashen. See pale1 . 3. feeble, weak, half-hearted, lame.
1. ruddy.


[wahn] /wɑn/
verb, Obsolete
a simple past tense of win.


[wan] /wæn/ Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wan
  • Through the frayed curtain at my window, a wan glow announces the break of day.
  • She now seemed very happy to see a friendly (albeit wan) face.
  • His hair seemed grayer, his face wan.
  • He walked stiffly, looking wan and serious.
  • They glide with wan and wavy motion.
  • Supermarkets are full of the same wan, waxy fruit they sell all year long.
  • She does not bother to put make-up on her wan face, with its dark-circled eyes and down-turned mouth.
  • To the researchers there, the spectacular laser is visible only as a wan beam on a computer monitor.
  • He responded with a shrug and a wan smile, and then returned to focusing on the work at hand.
  • The owner brought me more tea and another wan smile.
British Dictionary definitions for wan


adjective wanner, wannest
unnaturally pale esp from sickness, grief, etc
characteristic or suggestive of ill health, unhappiness, etc
(of light, stars, etc) faint or dim
verb wans, wanning, wanned
to make or become wan
Derived Forms
wanly, adverb
wanness, noun
Word Origin
Old English wann dark; related to wanian to wane


wide area network
Nigeria (international car registration)
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
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Word Origin and History for wan

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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wan in Science
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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wan in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Related Abbreviations for wan


  1. Nigeria (international vehicle ID)
  2. wide area network
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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