Confusing Words for the Easter break: Faun vs. Fawn

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What does each word mean?

Fauns are mythical beings from Roman mythology. They are part man and part goat.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is faun used in an example sentence:

  • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the main character Lucy befriends a faun called Mr Tumnus.

Click here to create a Spellzone vocabulary list using the faun.

A fawn is a young deer. The word is used to describe the light grey-brown colour of young deer. If you fawn over someone it means you are trying to gain their favour through excessive flattery or devotion.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is fawn used in some example sentences:

  • The film Bambi tells the story of a fawn growing up in the forest.
  • He decorated the living room in fawn, blue, and moss green.
  • She was embarrassed by the way the others fawned over her.

Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word fawn.

Where does each word come from?

Faun comes from the Old English ‘fægnian’ which means ‘rejoice, be glad, exult, applaud’. The word was used in Middle English to describe to expressions of delight, particularly in relation to a dog wagging its tail.

Fawn comes from the Old French ’faon, feon’ meaning ‘young animal’ which comes from the Latin ‘fetus’ meaning ‘a bringing forth; an offspring’. The word was used to describe colour from 1881.

Are there any tricks to help remember the difference between faun and fawn?

Fawn has the letters aw in it. Think of the sound someone might make upon seeing a young deer or when fawning over someone or something. Try saying the following sentence to yourself: ‘Aw, look at the baby deer learning to walk,’ he fawned when he saw the fawn.


What words do you constantly mix up? Let us know and we’ll cover them in our Commonly Confused Words series.

Sources: The Online Etymology Dictionary

09 Apr 2018
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