Word of the Day Archive
Sunday April 18, 2004
wan \WAHN\ , adjective:
1. Having a pale or sickly hue; pale; pallid.
2. Lacking vitality, as from weariness, illness, or unhappiness; feeble.
3. Lacking in intensity or brightness; dim or feeble.
She was concerned about her grandson's wan appearance. "So skinny," she would say in Yiddish, "such a plucked little owl."
-- Herbert G. Goldman, Banjo Eyes
Her pale, pinched lips, sunken eyes and wan, haggard cheeks presented a mournful contrast to her former self.
-- Wilkie Collins, Iolani
. . .some wan heroine in a Gothic romance, keening over a faithless lover, trembling before a murderous stalker, falling into the arms of her rescuers.
-- Marilyn Stasio, review of Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein, New York Times, July 28, 1996
Through the frayed curtain at my window, a wan glow announces the break of day.
-- Jean-Dominique Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Wan is from Old English wann, "gloomy, dark."