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[weyn] /weɪn/
verb (used without object), waned, waning.
to decrease in strength, intensity, etc.:
Daylight waned, and night came on. Her enthusiasm for the cause is waning.
to decline in power, importance, prosperity, etc.:
Colonialism began to wane after World War II.
to draw to a close; approach an end:
Summer is waning.
(of the moon) to decrease periodically in the extent of its illuminated portion after the full moon.
Compare wax2 (def 2).
a gradual decrease or decline in strength, intensity, power, etc.
the drawing to a close of life, an era, a period, etc.
the waning of the moon.
a period of waning.
a defect in a plank or board characterized by bark or insufficient wood at a corner or along an edge, due to the curvature of the log.
on the wane, decreasing; diminishing:
The popularity of that song is on the wane.
Origin of wane
before 900; Middle English wanen (v.), Old English wanian to lessen; cognate with Middle Dutch, Middle High German wanen, Old Norse vana to cause to wane, destroy
Related forms
unwaned, adjective
unwaning, adjective
Can be confused
wane, wax.
1, 2. diminish, fail, sink. 5. diminution; failure, decay. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wane
  • He never lets his energy wane as he works his way through a dozen songs of hope, comfort and praise.
  • The once-mighty teachers' union and school board have seen their influence wane.
  • The problems and ills will not wane easily, nor quickly, but they must not be ignored.
  • Knowledge and critical thinking appears on the wane.
  • Independent film is kind of on the wane and it used to be huge.
  • Too many commentators naively suppose that all dimensions of inequality wax and wane together, but it is not so.
  • Adventurous eating doesn't necessarily wane after middle-age, either, although changes in the senses can affect food preferences.
  • Absolutism-whether in taming subjects or nature-was on the wane.
  • The sun's energy output varies slightly as sunspots wax and wane on the star's surface.
  • Cases dropped almost immediately, but the epidemic seems already to have been on the wane.
British Dictionary definitions for wane


verb (intransitive)
(of the moon) to show a gradually decreasing portion of illuminated surface, between full moon and new moon Compare wax2 (sense 2)
to decrease gradually in size, strength, power, etc
to draw to a close
a decrease, as in size, strength, power, etc
the period during which the moon wanes
the act or an instance of drawing to a close
a rounded surface or defective edge of a plank, where the bark was
on the wane, in a state of decline
Derived Forms
waney, wany, adjective
Word Origin
Old English wanian (vb); related to wan-, prefix indicating privation, wana defect, Old Norse vana
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 wane

Old English wanian "make or become smaller gradually," from Proto-Germanic *wanojanan (cf. Old Saxon wanon, Old Norse vana, Old Frisian wania, Middle Dutch waenen, Old High German wanon "to wane, to grow less"), from *wano- "lacking," from PIE *we-no-, from root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out" (see vain). Related: Waned; waning; wanes.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with wane


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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