1 [don; Spanish, Italian dawn]
(initial capital letter) Mr.; Sir: a Spanish title prefixed to a man's given name.
(in Spanish-speaking countries) a lord or gentleman.
(initial capital letter) an Italian title of address, especially for a priest.
a person of great importance.
(in the English universities) a head, fellow, or tutor of a college.
(in the Mafia) a head of a family or syndicate.

1515–25; < Spanish, Italian < Latin dominus Unabridged


2 [don]
verb (used with object), donned, donning.
to put on or dress in: to don one's clothes.

1560–70; contraction of do1 + on; cf. doff


[don; for 1 also Russian dawn]
a river flowing generally S from Tula in the Russian Federation in Europe, to the Sea of Azov. About 1200 miles (1930 km) long.
a river in NE Scotland, flowing E from Aberdeen county to the North Sea. 62 miles (100 km) long.
a river in central England, flowing NE from S Yorkshire to the Humber estuary. 60 miles (97 km) long.
a male given name, form of Donald.


noun Welsh Mythology.
a goddess, the mother of Gwydion and Arianrod: corresponds to the Irish Danu. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
don1 (dɒn)
vb , dons, donning, donned
(tr) to put on (clothing)
[C14: from do1 + on; compare doff]

don2 (dɒn)
1.  (Brit) a member of the teaching staff at a university or college, esp at Oxford or Cambridge
2.  the head of a student dormitory at certain Canadian universities and colleges
3.  a Spanish gentleman or nobleman
4.  (in the Mafia) the head of a family
[C17: ultimately from Latin dominus lord]

Don1 (dɒn, Spanish don)
a Spanish title equivalent to Mr: placed before a name to indicate respect
[C16: via Spanish, from Latin dominus lord; see don²]

Don2 (dɒn)
1.  a river rising in W Russia, southeast of Tula and flowing generally south, to the Sea of Azov: linked by canal to the River Volga. Length: 1870 km (1162 miles)
2.  a river in NE Scotland, rising in the Cairngorm Mountains and flowing east to the North Sea. Length: 100 km (62 miles)
3.  a river in N central England, rising in S Yorkshire and flowing northeast to the Humber. Length: about 96 km (60 miles)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1523, from Sp. or Port. don, title of respect, from L. dominus "lord, master." The university sense is c.1660, originally student slang; underworld sense is 1952, from It. don, from L.L. domnus, from L. dominus (see domain). Don Juan "philanderer" is from the legendary dissolute
Sp. nobleman dramatized by Gabriel Tellez in "Convivado de Piedra" and popularized in Eng. by Lord Byron. The fem. form is Dona (Sp./Port.), Donna (It.).

early 14c. contraction of do on (see doff). "After 1650 retained in popular use only in north. dialect; as a literary archaism it has become very frequent in 19th c." [OED]. Related: Donned; donning.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
dissolved organic nitrogen
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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Example sentences
The dons are thought to fund many campaigns, and often run get-out-the-vote operations during elections.
The outcome will be determined not by student demand but by a committee comprised of dons and administrators.
But the thought of that fills dons with horror, and has for decades.
Second, the kidney punch before the author dons his specs isn't particularly convincing.
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