yawning; yawned; yawns

The reflex that makes you open your mouth wide, inhale, and then exhale is called a yawn. Even seeing photos of other people's yawns (or reading the word yawn) can make you yawn.

We yawn when we're very bored or tired, or when our bodies need an influx of oxygen. Scientists aren't completely in agreement about all the reasons why we yawn, but the "contagious yawn" happens across all human societies and even in non-human animals like chimpanzees and dogs. Things can also yawn in a figurative way, when they're open wide. Yawn comes from gionian in Old English, "open the mouth wide."

Definitions of yawn
  1. noun
    an involuntary intake of breath through a wide open mouth; usually triggered by fatigue or boredom
    “he could not suppress a yawn
    synonyms: oscitance, oscitancy, yawning
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    yawning and stretching (as when first waking up)
    type of:
    inborn reflex, innate reflex, instinctive reflex, physiological reaction, reflex, reflex action, reflex response, unconditioned reflex
    an automatic instinctive unlearned reaction to a stimulus
  2. verb
    utter a yawn, as from lack of oxygen or when one is tired
    “The child yawned during the long performance”
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    type of:
    breathe, respire, suspire, take a breath
    draw air into, and expel out of, the lungs
  3. verb
    be wide open
    synonyms: gape, yaw
    see moresee less
    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘yawn'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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