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90s Slang You Should Know


[bek-uh n] /ˈbɛk ən/
verb (used with or without object)
to signal, summon, or direct by a gesture of the head or hand.
to lure; entice.
a nod, gesture, etc., that signals, directs, summons, indicates agreement, or the like.
Origin of beckon
before 950; Middle English beknen, Old English gebē(a)cnian, derivative of bēacen beacon
Related forms
beckoner, noun
beckoningly, adverb
unbeckoned, adjective
1. motion, wave, gesture, bid, nod. 2. invite, attract, draw, coax, tempt, tantalize, allure, beguile. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for beckoning
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Looking out, she spied him below, a silencing finger against his lips, while he waved a beckoning arm toward the road.

    Seven Miles to Arden Ruth Sawyer
  • And the figure passed on, the beckoning hand dropping at its side.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • The usual signal has been made: the lighted purple pane of a painted window sends forth its beckoning gleam.

  • The apparition answered only by beckoning with a forefinger.

    Border Ghost Stories Howard Pease
  • At half-past eight o'clock she saw Jane beckoning to her at the door; and very glad she was at the sight.

  • beckoning to them when he left the room, they followed into the one adjoining.

    'Our guy' Mrs. E. E. Boyd
  • beckoning to her aunt to follow in the fly Paula walked down the street.

    A Laodicean Thomas Hardy
British Dictionary definitions for beckoning


to summon with a gesture of the hand or head
to entice or lure
a summoning gesture
Derived Forms
beckoner, noun
beckoning, adjective, noun
Word Origin
Old English bīecnan, from bēacen sign; related to Old Saxon bōknian; see beacon
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 beckoning



Old English gebecnian (West Saxon beacnian) "to make a mute sign," derivative of beacen "a sign, beacon," from Proto-Germanic *bauknjan (cf. Old Saxon boknian, Old High German bouhnen), from PIE root *bha- "to shine" (see beacon). Related: Beckoned; beckoning. The noun is attested from 1718, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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