intr.v. waned, wan·ing, wanes
1. To decrease gradually in size, number, strength, or intensity: Interest in the subject waned.
2. To show a progressively smaller illuminated area, as the moon does in passing from full to new.
3. To approach an end: The day began to wane.
1. The act or process of gradually declining or diminishing.
a. A time or phase of gradual decrease.
b. The period of the decrease of the moon's illuminated visible surface.
3. A defective edge of a board caused by remaining bark or a beveled end.
on the wane
In a period of decline or decrease: "The tide was near the turn and already the day was on the wane" (James Joyce).
[Middle English wanen, from Old English wanian; see euə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.