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[wey-kuh n] /ˈweɪ kən/
verb (used with object)
to rouse from sleep; wake; awake; awaken.
to rouse from inactivity; stir up or excite; arouse; awaken:
to waken the reader's interest.
verb (used without object)
to wake, or become awake; awaken.
Origin of waken
before 900; Middle English waknen, Old English wæcnan; cognate with Old Norse vakna; akin to wake1; see -en1
Related forms
wakener, noun
rewaken, verb
unwakened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for waken
Historical Examples
  • I am sorry to waken you, Sidney, but I don't know what to do.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • I doze for a little, and when I waken there are people in the room.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Maria had warned her not to waken her grandfather, so she admired it in whispers.

    The Little Colonel Annie Fellows Johnston
  • It seemed to waken all the room into new vibrations of life.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • He went closer to her, trying to waken her passion by the strength of his.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • It would be a pity if all the babies were to waken thirsty and kick each other.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael
  • I dreamed night after night about it, and I used to waken just wild to run back.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael
  • I remember you rubbed your nose with your little fist, but you did not waken.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • I waken in the morning with a secret pleasure at beholding the light.

  • Will it waken them if I––clean up a little before I go to bed?

    Rim o' the World B. M. Bower
British Dictionary definitions for waken


to rouse or be roused from sleep or some other inactive state
Derived Forms
wakener, 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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Word Origin and History for waken

"to become awake," Old English wæcnan, wæcnian "to rise, spring," from the same source as wake (v.). Figurative sense was in Old English. Transitive sense of "to arouse (someone or something) from sleep" is recorded from c.1200. Related: Wakened; wakening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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