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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 hearkening
Historical Examples
  • And presently collapsing, the tent covered with a moist mantle those who were hearkening to the history of Mary of Egypt.

    The Legend of Ulenspiegel Charles de Coster
  • Shame on a gentleman for hearkening to the foul-mouthed villains one moment.

    Two Penniless Princesses Charlotte M. Yonge
  • We know that we are hearkening to a note which is not Shakespearean at all, not practical, not English.

    From a Cornish Window Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • Go away, missis; I've nought to do with you, either in hearkening, or talking.

    Mary Barton Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
  • He was hearkening to a diffused and faint uproar, far away to the left, like the deep note of a clarion.

    The Man Who Laughs Victor Hugo
  • But the men-folk gave all their ears to hearkening, and stood as close as they might.

    The House of the Wolfings William Morris
  • Never was silence more profound; they were hearkening for murmurs from a tomb.

  • To us hearkening for his answer his voice betrayed no sign of dismay.

    Richard Carvel, Complete Winston Churchill
  • Tom was hearkening, for directly after there was another crash, and another.

    The Vast Abyss George Manville Fenn
  • Norton is hearkening to these rude tongues that do speak so lustily!

British Dictionary definitions for hearkening


(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 hearkening

Old English heorcnunge "harkening, listening, power of hearing" (see 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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