don » dawn

Classification: English – cot/caught merger

Spotted in the wild:

  • Prior to Governor M. Jodi Rell’s tour of the PEZ candy factory here, she was asked to dawn a blue and white trucker hat with the Pez logo emblazoned on it, so as to be in accordance with food safety laws. (Orange Bulletin, Jan 26, 2006)
  • Also attending was Director Gordon Greenberg, conceiver of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, costume designer Thom Heyer, Set Designer Jesse Poleshuck, and casting agent Stephanie Klapper. Ms. Stein dawned a beautiful gown designed by Dario Almiron. (, February 1, 2006)
  • Within 24 hours of dawning a Phoenix Coyotes uniform, Steven Reinprecht showed Coyote fans what they were getting in the six-foot center: A winner. (, February 3, 2006)
  • The Marines changed modes, dawned their coolest shades and stowed their traditional marching music in their back pocket. (Marine Corps News, Feb 8, 2006)
  • Inspired by the 2005 film “Brokeback Mountain.” Brokebacking refers to two cowboys who dawn cowboy hats (and/or other cowboy getup) and gay it up. (The Urban Dictionary, definition of "brokebacking")

Ben Zimmer previously entered the reverse eggcorn dawn»don (on someone) into the database. This one might make even more sense: _don_ belongs to the formal or poetic register, and the more frequent _dawn_ evokes the appearance of something (the sun).

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2006/02/16 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Richard Carroll , 2006/03/30 at 12:29 am

    It “dawned” on me some years ago that “don” is a contraction of “do on”, since the reverse action is “doff”. Confirmed in dictionary.

  2. 2

    Commentary by John Potter , 2006/09/04 at 4:46 pm

    My New York-born(e?) wife, Jane, took a job, shortly after moving to California, transcribing kiddie TV commericals. One commercial announced the arrival of “Barbie’s new friend, Don”, as she heard and typed it. Ok, Sure. Don must be good buddies with Ken, Barbi’s beau. However, the commerical then described “Don’s” “high-fashion wardrobe”, all of which fit Barbie as well. Was this Ken’s crossdresser friend, Don, perhaps? No, of course not. We’re talking her misunderstanding of the West Coast pronunciation, as in “the don comes up, like thunder, out of China, ‘cross the bay,” not the affected East Coast pronunciation, “dou-wahn”. After 32 years, we are still arguing over “cot”, the portable canvas bed, and “caught”, the past participle of the verb, to catch. All of us native Californians know that the two words are homonyms.

  3. 3

    Commentary by Carolyn , 2006/11/25 at 2:37 pm

    daw dang dumb don did damn diddley dings doning double dadded dumplings!

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