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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Awn \Awn\ ([add]n), n. [OE. awn, agune, from Icel. ["o]gn, pl. agnir; akin to Sw. agn, Dan. avne, Goth. ahana, OHG. agana, G. agen, ahne, chaff, Gr. 'a`chnh, AS. egla; prob. from same root as E. acute. See 3d Ear. [root]1.] (Bot.) The bristle or beard of barley, oats, grasses, etc., or any similar bristlelike appendage; arist

  1. --Gray.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"bristly fibers on grain of plants," c.1300, from Old Norse ögn, from Proto-Germanic *agano (cognates: Old English egenu, Old High German agana, German Ahne, Gothic ahana), from PIE *ak-ona- (cognates: Sanskrit asani- "arrowhead," Greek akhne "husk of wheat," Latin acus "chaff," Lithuanian akuotas "beard, awn"); suffixed form of PIE root *ak- "sharp" (see acrid).


n. The bristle or beard of barley, oats, grasses, etc., or any similar bristlelike appendage; arista.


n. slender bristlelike appendage found on the bracts of grasses

Awn (botany)

In botany, an awn is either a hair- or bristle-like appendage on a larger structure, or in the case of the Asteraceae, a stiff needle-like element of the pappus.

Awns are characteristic of various plant families, including Geraniaceae and many grasses ( Poaceae).

In grasses awns typically extend from the lemmas of the florets. This often makes the hairy appearance of the grass synfloresce. Awns may be long (several centimeters) or short, straight or curved, single or multiple per floret. Some genera are named after their awns, such as the three-awns (Aristida).

In some species, the awns can contribute significantly to photosynthesis, as, for example, in barley.

The awns of wild emmer wheat spikelets effectively self-cultivate by propelling themselves mechanically into soils. During a period of increased humidity during the night, the awns of the spikelet become erect and draw together, and in the process push the grain into the soil. During the daytime the humidity drops and the awns slacken back again; however, fine silica hairs on the awns act as ratchet hooks in the soil and prevent the spikelets from reversing back out again. During the course of alternating stages of daytime and nighttime humidity, the awns' pumping movements, which resemble a swimming frog kick, drill the spikelet as much as an inch into the soil.

When awns occur in the Geraniaceae, they form the distal (rostral) points of the five carpels, lying parallel in the style above the ovary. Depending on the species, such awns have various seed dispersal functions, either dispersing the seed by flinging it out (seed ejection), flinging away the entire carpel so that it snaps off (carpel projection), entangling the awn or bristles on passing animals ( zoochory), or possibly burying the seed by twisting as it lies on soft soil


AWN as an abbreviation may refer to:

  • Awn Access to Justice Network in Gaza Strip, Legal Aid Network operate in Gaza Strip, Palestine.
  • Animation World Network, an online organization for animators
  • Avant Window Navigator, a dock-like bar that tracks open windows
  • Advance Wars Net, an Advance Wars fan site
  • Ask Women Net, women's lifestyle magazine
  • Avant Window Navigator, a fully-fledged customize-able dock.

Awn as a word or name may refer to:

  • Awn (botany), on a plant, a hair or bristle-like appendage (i.e., an awned appendage)
  • Awn hair (mammal), a type of hair on mammals

Usage examples of "awn".

Enyhow, thishere stranger awn whut lookted like a Kuhmbuhluhn hoss rid up aside of him and basted him with one them iron clubs the Kuhmbuhluhn mens fights with lots of times.

Then he understood that it was a field of grass, perhaps squirreltail with its plumelike flower spikes and silky awns.

But long about the four-oh-one turnoff to Butluh, Merluhn, it'd got so gadhawful bad awn the road you couldn' see more'n ten foot ahead an' the wipers won't no good at-tall.

The Bearded Darnel, a common grass weed in English cornfields, is easily distinguished by its long glumes or awns and turgid, fruiting pales, containing the large grains, from the common Ray or Rye-grass (Lolium perenne), which is one of the best of the cultivated grasses, peculiarly adapted for both hay and pasture, especially in wet or uncertain climates.

Later awn there are going to be elections, and if you wawnt another office than the one I give you, you can run for it.