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[uh-weyk] /əˈweɪk/
verb (used with or without object), awoke or awaked, awoke or awaked or awoken, awaking.
to wake up; rouse from sleep:
I awoke at six with a feeling of dread.
to rouse to action; become active:
His flagging interest awoke.
to come or bring to an awareness; become cognizant (often followed by to):
She awoke to the realities of life.
waking; not sleeping.
vigilant; alert:
They were awake to the danger.
Origin of awake
before 1000; Middle English awaken, Old English awacen, past participle of awæcnan; see a1, waken
Related forms
awakeable, adjective
half-awake, adjective
reawake, verb, reawoke or reawaked, reawaking.
unawake, adjective
unawakeable, adjective
unawaked, adjective
unawaking, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for half-awake
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Just then the door behind her opened, and Paulina, her eyes still but half-awake, peeped out.

    Fairies Afield Mary Louisa Molesworth
  • This was from George Warren, whose voice denoted that he was only about half-awake.

    The Rival Campers Ruel Perley Smith
  • The mind gets into a half-awake, half-sleepy state, which hinders it from obtaining sound slumber when bedtime comes.

  • She was simply quiescent and passive, like a little child only half-awake.

    They Looked and Loved Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
  • Round every corner and shooting along every street, taxis and motors were speeding, driven by half-awake chauffeurs.

    The Wonder of War on Land Francis Rolt-Wheeler
  • half-awake, half-asleep, the days on shipboard go by as in a dream, and you gladly welcome back restored health.

    The Harris-Ingram Experiment Charles E. Bolton
  • The greater part of the night passed in that half-awake senile slumber.

    A Family of Noblemen Mikhal Saltykov
  • For a long time she had been half-awake, ever since the vehicle had stopped, which must have been ages and ages ago.

    The Laughing Cavalier Baroness Orczy
  • The clerk dozed, half-awake, trying to make up his mind whether the noise he had heard above called for an investigation or not.

    Mountain Clement Wood
British Dictionary definitions for half-awake


not fully awake


verb awakes, awaking, awoke, awaked, awoken, awaked
to emerge or rouse from sleep; wake
to become or cause to become alert
(usually foll by to) to become or make aware (of): to awake to reality
(transitive) Also awaken. to arouse (feelings, etc) or cause to remember (memories, etc)
adjective (postpositive)
not sleeping
(sometimes foll by to) lively or alert
Word Origin
Old English awacian, awacan; see wake1
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 half-awake



a merger of two Middle English verbs: 1. awaken, from Old English awæcnan (earlier onwæcnan; strong, past tense awoc, past participle awacen) "to awake, arise, originate," from a "on" + wacan "to arise, become awake" (see wake (v.)); and 2. awakien, from Old English awacian (weak, past participle awacode) "to awaken, revive; arise; originate, spring from," from a "on" (see a (2)) + wacian "to be awake, remain awake, watch" (see watch (v.)).

Both originally were intransitive only; the transitive sense being expressed by Middle English awecchen (from Old English aweccan) until later Middle English. In Modern English, the tendency has been to restrict the strong past tense and past participle (awoke, awoken) to the original intransitive sense and the weak inflection (awakened) to the transitive, but this never has been complete (see wake (v.); also cf. awaken).


"not asleep," c.1300, shortened from awaken, past participle of Old English awæcnan (see awaken).



"not asleep," c.1300, shortened from awaken, past participle of Old English awæcnan (see awaken).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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