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[uh-wey-kuh-ning] /əˈweɪ kə nɪŋ/
rousing; quickening:
an awakening interest in ballet.
the act of awaking from sleep.
a revival of interest or attention.
a recognition, realization, or coming into awareness of something:
a rude awakening to the disagreeable facts.
a renewal of interest in religion, especially in a community; a revival.
Origin of awakening
First recorded in 1585-95; awaken + -ing2, -ing1
Related forms
awakeningly, adverb
reawakening, noun
unawakening, adjective


[uh-wey-kuh n] /əˈweɪ kən/
verb (used with or without object)
to awake; waken.
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 awakening
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He did not want to risk her awakening to a spoiled life and disappointed hopes.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • With me this awakening came with my first glimpse of his eyes.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • The giants upon the hillside were just awakening from their night's sleep.

  • At dawn the Cyclops woke, and his awakening was like a thunderstorm.

    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew Josephine Preston Peabody
  • The sun had come back, and all the awakening Northland world was calling to him.

    White Fang Jack London
British Dictionary definitions for awakening


/əˈweɪkənɪŋ; əˈweɪknɪŋ/
the start of a feeling or awareness in a person: a picture of an emotional awakening
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for awakening



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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