From Middle English wan, wanne (“grey, leaden; pale grey, ashen; blue-black (like a bruise); dim, faint; dark, gloomy”), from Old English ƿann (“dark, dusky”), from Proto-Germanic *wannaz (“dark, swart”), of uncertain origin. Cognate with Old Frisian wann, wonn (“dark”).
- Pale, sickly-looking.
- 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: Printed [by John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938, book I, canto VIII, stanza 42, page 116:
- Whome when his Lady ſaw, to him ſhe ran / With haſty ioy : to ſee him made her glad, / And ſad to view his viſage pale and wan, / Who earſt in flowres of freſhest youth was clad.
- 1839, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Beleaguered City”, in Voices of the Night, Cambridge, Mass.: Published by John Owen, OCLC 877448942, stanzas 1 and 2, page 22:
- I have read in some old marvellous tale, / Some legend strange and vague, / That a midnight host of spectres pale / Beleaguered the walls of Prague. // Beside the Moldau’s rushing stream, / With the wan moon overhead, / There stood, as in an awful dream, / The army of the dead.
- 1921 October, Edgar Rice Burroughs, “The Efficiency Expert”, in All-Story Weekly, New York, N.Y.: Frank A. Munsey Co., OCLC 894821037; republished as “The Trial”, in The Efficiency Expert, [Auckland]: The Floating Press, 2011, →ISBN, page 188:
- She looked wan and worried, and then finally she was not in court one day, and later […] he learned that she was confined to her room with a bad cold.
- Dim, faint.
- 1909, Robert W[illiam] Service, “The Ballad of One-eyed Mike”, in Ballads of a Cheechako, Toronto, Ont.: William Briggs, OCLC 2068144, page 52:
- ’Twas so far away, that evil day when I prayed the Prince of Gloom / For the savage strength and the sullen length of life to work his doom. / Nor sign nor word had I seen or heard, and it happed so long ago; / My youth was gone and my memory wan, and I willed it even so.
- Bland, uninterested.
- A wan expression
- 1867 July 13, “Lieutenant Castagnac”, in Every Saturday: A Journal of Choice Reading, Selected from Foreign Current Literature, volume IV, number 80, Cambridge, Mass.: Printed at the University Press, Cambridge, by Welch, Bigelow, & Co., for Ticknor and Fields, OCLC 123899278, chapter II, page 35:
- My position in the midst of the general indifference was hard to bear ; my silence weighed upon me like remorse. The sight of Lieutenant Castagnac filled me with indignation, — a sort of insurmountable repulsion: the wan look, the ironical smile of the man, froze my blood.
- 2013, Carter Dreyfuss, chapter 1, in The Prince of Temple Square: A Murder Mystery, Tucson, Ariz.: Wheatmark, →ISBN, pages 8–9:
- Checking out her brother’s khakis, the gun propped in the corner, Olivia’s hiking boots and her wan expression, she wants to laugh. “Been hunting, I see.” Olivia’s face falls, as expected. Her brother’s obsession with guns and gross little expeditions appall her.
- 2014, Chris Angus, chapter 12, in Flypaper: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Yucca Publishing, Skyhorse Publishing, →ISBN:
- “I have to admit, I’ve been tempted a time or two to chuck everything to go live in a place like this [Bogda Peak, China],” he replied. / “What stopped you?” / He gave her a wan look. “Celibacy.”
- (sickly pale): see also Thesaurus:pallid
- The quality of being wan; wanness.
- 1847, Alfred Tennyson, The Princess; a Medley, London: Edward Moxon, Dover Street, OCLC 1027791381, stanza III, page 47:
- And while we stood beside the fount, and watch’d / Or seem’d to watch the dancing bubble, approach'd / Melissa, tinged with wan from lack of sleep, / Or sorrow, and glowing round her dewy eyes / The circled Iris of a night of tears ; […]
wan (plural wans)
- Eye dialect spelling of one, representing Ireland English.
- (Ireland) A girl or woman.
- 2005, David McWilliams, The Pope’s Children: Ireland’s New Elite, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, →ISBN; republished as The Pope’s Children: The Irish Economic Triumph and the Rise of Ireland’s New Elite, Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, 2008, →ISBN, page 4:
- Growing up in Dún Laoghaire in the 1980s, I remember all the hard men were sinewy, scrawny lads, hence the local description ‘more meat on a seagull’. The reason was simple: they were undernourished. […] The young wans, despite a couple of babies, were more or less the same, pinched, flat-chested and drawn.
- 2015, Kevin Maher, “A Yuletide Bender”, in Last Night on Earth, London: Little, Brown and Company, →ISBN:
- He comes streaming out from under the stage, this time a feckin show-stopper, almost literally, because there’s eighty different acrobats above him, […] for this mad New Year’s show that has no story at all, other than this wan in silky robes who goes out with this fella in silky robes, and they’re from different enemy tribes of lads and wans in silky robes, and when they find out, they have this huge, aerial, acrobatic donnybrook that ends when everyone wraps their silk around each other up in the air, and then lets it all fall down to the ground, where the audience are, to show them how we're all part of one big silky family, and not to be fighting in the future.
An inflected form.
- (obsolete) simple past tense and past participle of .
- Nonstandard spelling of wān.
- Nonstandard spelling of wán.
- Nonstandard spelling of wǎn.
- Nonstandard spelling of wàn.
- English transcriptions of Mandarin speech often fail to distinguish between the critical tonal differences employed in the Mandarin language, using words such as this one without the appropriate indication of tone.
- (Föhr-Amrum Dialect) to win
|infinitive II||tu wanen|
|1st-person singular||ik wan||ik woon|
|2nd-person singular||dü wanst||dü woonst|
|3rd-person singular||hi/hat/at want||hi/hat/at woon|
|1st-person dual||wat wan||wat woon|
|2nd-person dual||jat wan||jat woon|
|1st-person plural||wi wan||wi woon|
|2nd-person plural||jam wan||jam woon|
|3rd-person plural||jo wan||jo woon|
|1st-person singular||ik haa wonen||ik hed wonen|
|2nd-person singular||dü heest wonen||dü hedst wonen|
|3rd-person singular||hi/hat/at hee wonen||hi/hat/at hed wonen|
|1st-person dual||wat haa wonen||wat hed wonen|
|2nd-person dual||jat haa wonen||jat hed wonen|
|1st-person plural||wi haa wonen||wi hed wonen|
|2nd-person plural||jam haa wonen||jam hed wonen|
|3rd-person plural||jo haa wonen||jo hed wonen|
|future (skel)||future (wel)|
|1st-person singular||ik skal wan||ik wal wan|
|2nd-person singular||dü skääl wan||dü wääl wan|
|3rd-person singular||hi/hat/at skal wan||hi/hat/at wal wan|
|1st-person dual||wat skel wan||wat wel wan|
|2nd-person dual||jat skel wan||jat wel wan|
|1st-person plural||wi skel wan||wi wel wan|
|2nd-person plural||jam skel wan||jam wel wan|
|3rd-person plural||jo skel wan||jo wel wan|
- third-person singular of
- Grendel wan hwile wið Hroþgar. ― Grendel long fought against Hrothgar.(Beowulf ll. 151-2)
- with, in relation to
- Shiwi nuwan wan niweli nimetzilwitia ne nukal yankwik
- Come with me and I can show you my new house
- and, but
- Shinechmaka yey pula wan chikwasen tumat
- Give me three plantains and six tomatoes
- Nikilwij ma timuitakan yalua wan inte walajsik
- I told her/him to meet yesterday but she/he didn't come
- Alternative form of