• WordNet 3.6
    • v yawn utter a yawn, as from lack of oxygen or when one is tired "The child yawned during the long performance"
    • v yawn be wide open "the deep gaping canyon"
    • n yawn an involuntary intake of breath through a wide open mouth; usually triggered by fatigue or boredom "he could not suppress a yawn","the yawning in the audience told him it was time to stop","he apologized for his oscitancy"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

A kitten stretches and yawns in its basket while the sun shines outside A kitten stretches and yawns in its basket while the sun shines outside

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The early occurrence of a fetus yawning is at eleven weeks after conception
    • Yawn A chasm, mouth, or passageway. "Now gape the graves, and trough their yawns let loose
      Imprisoned spirits."
    • Yawn An involuntary act, excited by drowsiness, etc., consisting of a deep and long inspiration following several successive attempts at inspiration, the mouth, fauces, etc., being wide open. "One person yawning in company will produce a spontaneous yawn in all present."
    • Yawn The act of opening wide, or of gaping.
    • Yawn To be eager; to desire to swallow anything; to express desire by yawning; as, to yawn for fat livings. "One long, yawning gaze."
    • Yawn To open the mouth involuntarily through drowsiness, dullness, or fatigue; to gape; to oscitate. "The lazy, yawning drone.""And while above he spends his breath,
      The yawning audience nod beneath."
    • Yawn To open the mouth, or to gape, through surprise or bewilderment.
    • Yawn To open wide; to gape, as if to allow the entrance or exit of anything. "'t is now the very witching time of night,
      When churchyards yawn ."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: A yawn usually lasts for approximately six seconds
    • yawn To gape; open; stand wide.
    • yawn Specifically.
    • yawn To open the mouth wide. Voluntarily.
    • yawn Involuntarily, as through drowsiness or dullness; gape; oscitate. Compare yawning.
    • yawn To gape, as in hunger or thirst for something; hence, to be eager; long.
    • yawn To be open-mouthed with surprise, bewilderment, etc.; be agape.
    • yawn To open; form by opening.
    • yawn To express or utter with a yawn.
    • n yawn The act of gaping or opening wide.
    • n yawn An involuntary opening of the mouth from drowsiness; oscitation. See yawning.
    • n yawn An opening; a chasm.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The act of stretching and yawning is referred to as pandiculation
    • v.i Yawn yawn to open the jaws involuntarily from drowsiness: to gape: to gape with astonishment
    • n Yawn the opening of the mouth from drowsiness
    • n Yawn act of opening wide or gaping: a modification of the ordinary movements of respiration, in which the inspiration is deeper than usual, accompanied by a kind of spasmodic contraction of the muscles which depress the lower jaw, and by a great elevation of the ribs and to some degree of the shoulder-blades
    • ***


  • Gilbert K. Chesterton
    “A yawn is a silent shout.”
  • Rebecca West
    “There is no wider gulf in the universe than yawns between those on the hither and thither side of vital experience.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. yanien, ȝanien, ganien, gonien, AS. gānian,; akin to ginian, to yawn, gīnan, to yawn, open wide, G. gähnen, to yawn, OHG. ginēn, geinōn, Icel. gīna, to yawn, gin, the mouth, OSlav. zijati, to yawn, L. hiare, to gape, yawn; and perhaps to E. begin, cf. Gr. cheia` a hole. √47b. Cf. Begin, Gin, to begin, Hiatus


In literature:

With an air of negligent assurance Hamdi Bey gazed about the room and yawned.
"The Fortieth Door" by Mary Hastings Bradley
She looked up, smiled, yawned, and held out her hand.
"The Indiscretion of the Duchess" by Anthony Hope
He shut his book, yawned, took snuff, and declared himself ready for a meal.
"The Red Redmaynes" by Eden Phillpotts
Mayenne was yawning; he had a rumpled and dishevelled look like one just roused from sleep.
"Helmet of Navarre" by Bertha Runkle
A couple of hours later, when he yawned and changed his books, he still heard the breathing, and went cautiously up to the door to look round.
"The Empty House And Other Ghost Stories" by Algernon Blackwood
An emissary threw some small, heavy object into the yawning hole.
"The Master Mystery" by Arthur B. Reeve and John W. Grey
He swung his feet down and yawned prodigiously.
"The Ridin' Kid from Powder River" by Henry Herbert Knibbs
And after he had yawned he spluttered and felt as if he were going to faint.
"Pinocchio" by C. Collodi
The two young men rose, yawned, and strolled out into the hall.
"The Half-Hearted" by John Buchan
And she stood at the window long, trying to make yawns of sighs.
"Lorna Doone" by R. D. Blackmore

In poetry:

The door stands wide, the church is bare,
Oh, horror, ghastly, sore!
A gulf of death, with hideous stare,
Yawns in the earthen floor;
"A Book of Dreams: Part II" by George MacDonald
When sinks my heart in hopeless gloom,
And life can show no joy for me;
And I behold a yawning tomb,
Where bowers and palaces should be;
"Views Of Life" by Anne Bronte
Think drunkenness thy greatest foe;
No drunkard shall to Heaven go:
Hell opes her jaws, and yawns amain,
The bloated brute to entertain.
"Godly Exhortations To A Child " by Rees Prichard
Pray for him, my blood's dear fountain,
While he sleeps, and watch his yawn
In that wakening babelike moment,
Sweeter to my thought than dawn! -
"A Preaching From A Spanish Ballad" by George Meredith
Contentment comes not therefore; still there lies
An outer distance when the first is hailed,
And still forever yawns before our eyes
An UTMOST—that is veiled.
"Honours -- Part II." by Jean Ingelow
Oh, like the Smoke that rises and is gone,
Let your own Spirit lift from Dawn to Dawn
And so bestartle Ennui that at last
Even the Grave will quite forget to yawn!
"The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám Jr." by Wallace Irwin

In news:

Some thoughts on why people yawn .
In support of this theory is my observation (I don't really know this) that people yawn less as they get older.
Check out the woman on the left and try not to yawn .
Does seeing someone yawn remind us that we, too, are exhausted are must follow suit.
Yawning over the Olympics.
The Gallup team's data show that how often we yawn varies from season to season and that people are less likely to yawn in hotter temperatures.
WASHINGTON — Do you yawn throughout the day or get sleepy while driving.
Do you yawn throughout the day or get sleepy whi.
Do you yawn throughout the day or get sleepy while driving.
(Translation: Dogs will yawn in response to just hearing a human yawn .).
Whenever you're around people who yawn , you probably yawn , too.
You may even yawn after reading the word " yawn .".
For those who might yawn at the idea of.
There are several theories about the cause of yawning.
Phil Vassar puts down his cup of coffee and yawns.

In science:

CC), or as one’s yawning triggers others to yawn, thanks to delicate influences (i.e.
Quantum correlations in Newtonian space and time: arbitrarily fast communication or nonlocality
The common-lore view of a multitude of individual observers, one hastily printing, another yawning, a third one moving around his DNA strands, is now superseded by the view of different SIAs, each with its algorithmic complexity defined via a universal machine.
Quantum observer and Kolmogorov complexity: a model that can be tested