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dawn on (third-person singular simple present dawns on, present participle dawning on, simple past and past participle dawned on)

  1. (idiomatic, of an idea) To occur to somebody; to be realized.
    It finally dawned on him that he could automate the process instead of doing it by hand each time.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity:
      Although the Celebrity was almost impervious to sarcasm, he was now beginning to exhibit visible signs of uneasiness, the consciousness dawning upon him that his eccentricity was not receiving the ovation it merited.
    • 2013, Russell Brand, Russell Brand and the GQ awards: 'It's amazing how absurd it seems' (in The Guardian, 13 September 2013)[1]
      What dawned on me as the night went on is that even in apparently frivolous conditions the establishment asserts control, and won't tolerate having that assertion challenged, even flippantly, by that most beautifully adept tool: comedy.

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