"act of yawning," 1690s, from yawn (v.). Meaning "boring thing" is attested from 1889.
c. 1300, yenen, yonen, from Old English ginian, gionian "open the mouth wide, yawn, gape," from Proto-Germanic *gin- (source also of Old Norse gina "to yawn," Dutch geeuwen, Old High German ginen, German gähnen "to yawn"), from PIE *ghai- "to yawn, gape" (source also of Old Church Slavonic zijajo "to gape," Lithuanian žioju, žioti, Czech zivati "to yawn," Greek khainein, Latin hiare "to yawn, gape," Sanskrit vijihite "to gape, be ajar"). Modern spelling is from 16c. Related: Yawned; yawning.
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