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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hearkened
Historical Examples
  • With my back to them and my ear to the door I hearkened outward.

    The Cavalier George Washington Cable
  • I have hearkened to your words, and marked well your counsels.

  • Latisan, lingering on the porch, had hearkened and observed.

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

  • 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
  • But it surprised me much that Mother Alianora lay and hearkened, and said nought.

    In Convent Walls Emily Sarah Holt
  • 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
  • She hearkened till she heard him ride away—on his way to Alianora.

    The Well in the Desert Emily Sarah Holt
  • I frequently stood still, and hearkened to the one and to the other.

  • She hearkened over the banisters for his voice, heard it, and summoned all her courage.

    The Crisis, Complete Winston Churchill
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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