A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Yawn (verb)

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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 2309

To Yawn. v.n. [ᵹonan, Saxon.]

  1. To gape; to oscitate; to have the mouth opened involuntarily by fumes, as in sleepiness.

    The sad-ey'd justice, with his surly hum,
    Delivering o'er to executors pale
    The lazy, yawning drone.
    Shakesp. Hen. V.

    In yawning, the inner parchment of the ear is extended. When a man yawneth, he cannot hear so well. Bacon.

    At length shook off himself, and ask'd the dame;
    And asking yawn'd, for what intent she came?
    Dryden.

    To whom the yawning pilot fast asleep,
    Me didst thou bid, to trust the treacherous deep?
    Dryden.

  2. To open wide.

                The gashes,
    That bloodily did yawn upon his face.
    Shakespeare.

    'Tis now the very witching time of night,
    When churchyards yawn.
    Shakesp. Hamlet.

    Now will I dam up this thy yawning mouth,
    For swallowing up the treasure of the realm.
    Shakesp.

    He shall cast up the wealth by him devour'd,
    Like vomit, from his yawning entrails pour'd.
    Sandys.

              Hell at last
    Yawning receiv'd them whole, and on them clos'd.
    Milton.

    The sword pierc'd his tender sides;
    Down fell the beauteous youth; the yawning wound
    Gush'd out a purple stream.
    Dryden.

    High she rear'd her arm, and with her sceptre struck
    The yawning cliff: from its disparted height
    Adown the mount the gushing torrent ran.
    Prior.

  3. To express desire by yawning.

    The chiefest thing at which lay-reformers yawn, is, that the clergy may, through conformity in condition, be poor as the apostles were. In which one circumstance, if they imagine so great perfection, they must think that church which hath such store of mendicant friars, a church in that respect most happy. Hooker.

Sources: Bacon, Francis (396) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Hamlet (60) · Shakespeare's Henry V (66) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2 (49) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Milton, John (449) · Prior, Matthew (162) · Sandys, George (23)

Attributes: Saxon (215) · Verb Neuter (131)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Yawn (verb)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: February 16, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=3017.


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