Dawn on

Dawn on is an idiom that has been in use for decades. We will examine the meaning of the common saying dawn on, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Dawn on means that one is beginning to understand something, that the person has realized something. When something dawns on you, you have had an epiphany. The verbal phrase dawn on came into use to mean to understand something in the 1850s; the imagery is of the dawn breaking and illuminating the world. Related phrases are dawns on, dawned on, dawning on.

Examples

Until our interview, “it didn’t dawn on me that one coincided with the other,” Yarian admits.  (Allure Magazine)

But as this realization sank slowly to the bottom of my heart like a solid fact in a pool of denial, something else, something better, began to dawn on me: Here were three seminarians, hiking in the northern wilderness by night, where the only light apart from our headlamps came from the stars.  (Arlington Catholic Herald)

Lane said it dawned on him that the relationships that he would build at Navy go beyond football after having a discussion with Mids assistant coach Ashley Ingram. (Capital Gazette)