noun Botany.
a bristlelike appendage of a plant, especially on the glumes of grasses.
such appendages collectively, as those forming the beard of wheat, barley, etc.
any similar bristle.

1250–1300; Middle English aw(u)n, agune, agene, probably < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse ǫgn, Old Danish aghn husk; replacing and cognate with Old English ægnan; cognate with Gothic ahana, Old High German agana (German Agen, Ahne), Dutch, Frisian agen; OL agna ear of grain, Czech osina awn; Greek ákaina thorn, bristle, ákhnē chaff (< a pre-Hellenic substratum language); < Indo-European *Haeḱ- sharp

awned, adjective
awnless, adjective
unawned, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
awn (ɔːn)
any of the bristles growing from the spikelets of certain grasses, including cereals
[Old English agen ear of grain; related to Old Norse ögn chaff, Gothic ahana, Old High German agana, Greek akōn javelin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"bristly fibers on grain of plants," c.1300, from O.N. ögn, from P.Gmc. *agano (cf. O.E. egenu, O.H.G. agana, Ger. Ahne, Goth. ahana), from PIE *ak-ona- (cf. Skt. asani- "arrowhead," Gk. akhne "husk of wheat," L. acus "chaff," Lith. akuotas "beard, awn"); suffixed form of PIE base *ak- "sharp"
(see acrid).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
awn   (ôn)  Pronunciation Key 

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A slender, bristlelike appendage found on the spikelets of many grasses.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
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