from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To notify or make aware in advance of something, especially of possible danger or misfortune.
  • transitive verb To make known (a warning).
  • transitive verb To advise or caution (someone) about a course of action.
  • transitive verb To notify (a person) to go or stay away.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A denial; refusal.
  • To put on guard by timely notice; wake, ware, or give notice to beforehand, as of approaching danger or of something to be avoided or guarded against; caution; admonish; tell or command admonishingly; advise.
  • To admonish, as to any duty; advise; ex postulate with.
  • To apprise; give notice to; make ware or aware; inform previously; notify; direct; bid; summon.
  • To deny; refuse; forbid.
  • To defend; keep or ward off.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To refuse.
  • transitive verb To make ware or aware; to give previous information to; to give notice to; to notify; to admonish; hence, to notify or summon by authority
  • transitive verb To give notice to, of approaching or probable danger or evil; to caution against anything that may prove injurious.
  • transitive verb obsolete To ward off.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb obsolete To refuse, deny (someone something).
  • verb intransitive To give warning.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb admonish or counsel in terms of someone's behavior
  • verb notify, usually in advance
  • verb notify of danger, potential harm, or risk
  • verb ask to go away


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English warnen, from Old English warnian; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From a combination of Old English wiernan (from Proto-Germanic *warnijanan; compare Danish værne) and Old English wearnian (from Proto-Germanic *warnōnan; compare Swedish varna).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English warnian, from Proto-Germanic *warnōnan. Cognate with German warnen.


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  • In small-town New England, town meeting dates and ballot questions are "warned" in advance, and posters about such matters bear the headline "WARNING" which is quite disorienting for newcomers.

    November 20, 2008