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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 waning
  • Bidding often is slow until the waning minutes.
  • With her waning strength, she haltingly dragged a chair several inches out from the table.
  • He was half an hour late, and it looked as if her patience was waning.
  • The waning moon rose late.
  • Rigor, discipline and self-sufficiency are waning at an unacceptable rate.
  • On a global scale, the amphibian population has been waning.
  • Although sales of the book remained brisk during the first several years of the 20th century, they were waning by 1908.
  • For a time it seemed concern was on the rise but more recently it seems to be waning.
  • By the next day, when the board announced its independent investigation, support for the president was waning.
  • Then move on to something else if you feel the interest is waning.
British Dictionary definitions for waning


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 waning

Old English wanunge, wonunge, present participle of wanian (see 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 waning


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