Meaning of AN in English


I. _ən, after some consonants often ə n, esp emphatic or hesitating or after a pause (|)an; see usage note below indefinite article

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English ān one — more at one

: a II — used (1) usually in speech and writing before words beginning with a vowel sound

an oak

an hour

an X ray

(2) usually in speech and often in writing before h -initial words beginning with an unstressed or lightly stressed syllable in which h may or may not be pronounced

an historian

an heroic

(3) sometimes (less often now than formerly) before words whose initial letter is a vowel and whose initial sounds are yü or yu̇ or w in one

an European

an unique

such an one

(4) sometimes in speech and writing and regularly in the Old Testament (AV) before a stressed syllable in h- initial words

an hundred

an heritage

II. _ən, _an preposition

: a III 2 — usually used before words with an initial vowel sound

once an afternoon

earns three dollars an hour

III. conjunction

or an'

Etymology: Middle English an, alteration of and

1. the spelling without “d” is substand but the pronunciation without d is not — see and I substandard : and

he would sit an let on to be learning — Wright Morris

2. (|)an, ən, ə n archaic : if

an thou dalliest, then I am thy foe — Ben Jonson

IV. abbreviation

1. animate


[Latin anno ]

in the year


[Latin annum; annus ]


4. anonymous

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.