Definition of yawn in English:


Pronunciation /yôn/ /jɔn/

Translate yawn into Spanish

intransitive verb

[no object]
  • 1Involuntarily open one's mouth wide and inhale deeply due to tiredness or boredom.

    • ‘he began yawning and looking at his watch’
    gaping, wide open, wide, cavernous, deep
  • 2(of an opening or space) be very large and wide.

    ‘she started inching back from the abyss that yawned before her’
    • ‘the whole empty day yawned before me’
    gaping, wide open, wide, cavernous, deep


  • 1A reflex act of opening one's mouth wide and inhaling deeply due to tiredness or boredom.

    ‘he stretches and stifles a yawn’
    • ‘Hugh Bradley was in the pool recently and said the two boys had yawns as wide as a hippopotamus' mouth.’
    • ‘I tried not to show my boredom, but my yawns were coming quicker and quicker.’
    • ‘And, since the good jokes don't come until the final third, a lot of yawns will have to be stifled.’
    • ‘The skeletal mouth opened in a wide yawn, a centipede unknown to Anthony sleeping delicately on his tongue.’
    • ‘But we are tired, and Mum mistakes our tiredness and stifled yawns for boredom.’
    • ‘I spent this period of instruction trying to stifle yawns and resisting saying how old-hat this all seemed.’
    • ‘Conner rose and stretched, his lupine muzzle gaping wide in a colossal yawn, the muscles rippling across his broad back.’
    • ‘It's a sad day when 90 minutes of football is all about stifling the yawns.’
    • ‘Evie said, she put her hand over her mouth to stifle a yawn.’
    • ‘The transnational morality set can barely stifle their yawns.’
    • ‘I don't even try to stifle my yawns while at the in-laws house.’
    • ‘She is the most perfect creation in the world, the most innocent bundle of coos and yawns and mumbles, and my heart breaks every time she focuses on my face.’
    • ‘At parties, it was the last thing I wanted to mention, since it was certain to bring yawns and glares of boredom from beer-holding peers.’
    • ‘It's been a couple of weeks since I bought this one, and I'm sure mentioning it will have most people stifling yawns, but that's just tough!’
    • ‘Sadie's heavy eyelids and swallow-the-earth yawns were entirely down to yet another interminable boredom barrage from Mr Brown.’
    • ‘It's striking that the fecklessness of the United Nations and the treachery of the French draw so many yawns from establishment commentators and politicians.’
    • ‘It was an era when politics had passion and party political conventions could be dramatic, world-changing events rather than media-manipulated yawns.’
    • ‘Until now, I would have defied anyone to be able to make a documentary on the Somme that didn't reduce the audience to tears, but they managed not just to leave us with dry eyes, but to replace them with yawns.’
    • ‘Rather than yawns of ‘we're bored’ the students engaged in lively debate with the Minister putting a myriad of questions to her ranging from the EU to the challenges of democracy.’
    • ‘I like to watch late night TV (the only time good programs like 6 Feet Under, ER and arty documentaries are on) and judge my bedtime by the force of gravity and the frequency of my yawns.’
    1. 1.1informal in singular A thing that is considered boring or tedious.
      • ‘the awards show was a four-hour yawn’
      • ‘How are you going to get big voter turnout when everybody seems to think these elections are a big yawn?’
      • ‘Because the dirty little secret is that most Americans still greet the MLS with a big yawn.’
      • ‘It happened 15 years ago and it's been either a big yawn or a big laugh ever since.’
      • ‘Put frankly, the whole thing was one big yawn which was mitigated only by the fact that it was a beautiful sunny day.’
      • ‘Is Channel 4's new sleep deprivation game show a danger to health or just a big yawn?’
      • ‘People will be looking for the sums and despite the eighty or so people last night, many think that the whole thing is a big yawn.’
      • ‘Whatever it is I find it a relief to know you can be in your 40's and not turn into a boring middleaged yawn.’
      • ‘It's not a big yawn or an exclusive affair, as most people might think.’
      • ‘The horses' reaction to all this was on the order of a yawn - no big deal.’
      • ‘Technologically speaking, the last 100 years of handgun development have been one big yawn.’
      • ‘The Punakawan parts, which had amusing dialog and action, saved the performance from turning into a big yawn.’
      • ‘I hope I'm wrong, but right now the whole issue is just one big yawn.’
      • ‘The sheer Hip-ness of Evolution can feel like a bit of a yawn given the little risk of alienating such a loyal audience by pushing the envelope a touch.’
      • ‘But the comedy is ghastly dull, the choreography fussy and boring - a yawn a minute, I thought sourly.’
      • ‘Anyway, I ended up watching an amateur boxing match, big yawn.’
      • ‘If you are part of the Big Five, XYZ is a just a big yawn.’
      • ‘So pausing only to wonder at this weird form of celebrity inflation, in which the words rise and interest disappears with a popping yawn, here is a final thought.’
      • ‘I heard from a relative of someone serving in Fallujah, who said that all the bases around there take mortar fire so frequently that it has become a big yawn for the troops.’
      • ‘What Ellen MacArthur did is, to my mind, one big yawn.’
      • ‘If like the rest of us you feel this year's Big Brother is a bit * yawn * compared to other years then join with us to keep the rebellious Dubliner in the house.’


Old English geonian, of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin hiare and Greek khainein. Current noun senses date from the early 18th century.