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[weyk-fuh l] /ˈweɪk fəl/
unable to sleep; not sleeping; indisposed to sleep:
Excitement made the children wakeful.
characterized by absence of sleep:
a wakeful night.
watchful; alert; vigilant:
a wakeful foe.
Origin of wakeful
First recorded in 1540-50; wake1 + -ful
Related forms
wakefully, adverb
wakefulness, noun
unwakeful, adjective
unwakefully, adverb
unwakefulness, noun
1. sleepless, awake, insomniac, restless. 3. wary, observant.
1. asleep, sleeping. 2. sleepful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wakeful
Historical Examples
  • He fell asleep, after a long, wakeful night, and did not hear the maid who called him.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • The commandant passed a wakeful night and arrived early at his office.

    A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre
  • That, too, he had been considering during the wakeful hours of that summer night.

    The Lion's Skin Rafael Sabatini
  • Twould be the worse for me (said he) an he caught me wakeful when he turned in.

  • wakeful birds deceived by the moon piped softly and were silent.

    The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs
  • No, it was not the story he had listened to which kept him wakeful.

    The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum
  • The conditions were such as to make one wakeful and alert, if anything could.

    Personal Recollections of a Cavalryman J. H. (James Harvey) Kidd
  • By her presence she had sanctified it and made of it a shrine for his meditative and wakeful hours.

    The Harbor of Doubt Frank Williams
  • And the dream was lovely as dream needs be, but not lovelier than the wakeful night.

  • The child, tired, but wakeful, stood at the door in fear of the dog.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
British Dictionary definitions for wakeful


unable or unwilling to sleep
Derived Forms
wakefully, adverb
wakefulness, noun
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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