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[uh-wey-kuh n] /əˈweɪ kən/
verb (used with or without object)
to awake; waken.
Origin of awaken
before 900; Middle English awak(e)nen, Old English awæcnian earlier onwæcnian. See a-1, waken
Related forms
awakenable, adjective
awakener, noun
reawaken, verb
well-awakened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for awaken
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Poor Omar Ben was a sight to awaken pity, even in the stoniest of hearts.

    A Night Out Edward Peple
  • But her interest in his hobby for once failed to awaken his enthusiasm.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • He looked her in the face, but saw nothing to awaken his distrust.

    Other Tales and Sketches Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • He was waiting now for Wotan to awaken and to give to him the beautiful Freya.

  • "We would not be so willing to go to sleep if we thought we should not awaken," said the violet.

Word Origin and History for awaken

Old English awæcnan (intransitive), "to spring into being, arise, originate," also, less often, "to wake up;" earlier onwæcnan, from a- (1) "on" + wæcnan (see waken). Transitive meaning "to rouse from sleep" is recorded from 1510s; figurative sense of "to stir up, rouse to activity" is from c.1600.

Originally strong declension (past tense awoc, past participle awacen), already in Old English it was confused with awake (v.) and a weak past tense awæcnede (modern awakened) emerged and has since become the accepted form, with awoke and awoken transferred to awake. Subtle shades of distinction determine the use of awake or awaken in modern English. Related: Awakening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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