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or harken

[hahr-kuh n] /ˈhɑr kən/
verb (used without object)
Literary. to give heed or attention to what is said; listen.
verb (used with object)
Archaic. to listen to; hear.
Origin of hearken
1150-1200; Middle English hercnen, Old English he(o)rcnian, suffixed form of assumed *heorcian; see hark, -en1
Related forms
hearkener, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hearken
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And then there seemed to me to be a new sound rising among the thunder, and I called to Harek, bidding him hearken.

    King Alfred's Viking Charles W. Whistler
  • Be rather in the trumpet's mouth,–anon Among the winds at large–that all may hearken!

    Endymion John Keats
  • Take him, Sarceda, and hearken, let him be your especial care.

    Montezuma's Daughter H. Rider Haggard
  • I could pray no prayers but for thee; I could hearken to no other tales of woe.

    The Royal Pawn of Venice Mrs. Lawrence Turnbull
  • Too much in love to hearken to such a proposal, I urged her to travel more expeditiously, that we might be back the sooner.

  • The other plough also no man is diligent to set forward, nor no man will hearken to it.

  • Any reasoning thou hast to come down with, us will hearken, as we goes along; if so be that thou keepest to a civil tongue.

    Cripps, the Carrier R. D. (Richard Doddridge) Blackmore
British Dictionary definitions for hearken


(archaic) to listen to (something)
Derived Forms
hearkener, noun
Word Origin
Old English heorcnian; see hark
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 hearken

Old English heorcnian, a suffixed form of *heorcian, root of hark; from Proto-Germanic *hausjan (see hear). Harken is the usual spelling in U.S. and probably is better justified by etymology; hearken likely is from influence of hear.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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