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90s Slang You Should Know


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 hearkened
Historical Examples
  • Wide she opened her lattice window and, leaning out, she hearkened to the song of the gay goshawk.

    Stories from the Ballads Mary MacGregor
  • He is always a fool when the wine overflows, as I am too, or I would not have hearkened to him!

    The Golden Dog William Kirby
  • And when the false beggar would have comforted him, saying he knew of a truth that Ulysses would yet return, he hearkened not.

    Stories of the Old world Alfred John Church
  • With my back to them and my ear to the door I hearkened outward.

    The Cavalier George Washington Cable
  • In the harvest following, he hearkened to another call to Torphichen, but this proved also unsuccessful.

  • I have hearkened to your words, and marked well your counsels.

  • Peter was glad that she had not hearkened to the insistent pratings of the other Peter.

    Twos and Threes G. B. Stern
  • But he was not frightened, for he had not yet learned how to be; so he sat up and hearkened.

  • And this time, as I hearkened, my heart and my brain echoed the last words—It might be so now.

    Bye-Ways Robert Smythe Hichens
  • It was apparent that he had more to say; and all there hearkened to hear what it might be.

    From Place to Place Irvin S. Cobb
British Dictionary definitions for hearkened


(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 hearkened



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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