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[uh-wey-kuh n]
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to awake; waken.
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Origin of awaken

before 900; Middle English awak(e)nen, Old English awæcnian earlier onwæcnian. See a-1, waken
Related formsa·wak·en·a·ble, adjectivea·wak·en·er, nounre·a·wak·en, verbwell-a·wak·ened, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for awaken

provoke, excite, revive, arouse, wake, awake, rouse, fan, activate, enliven, incite, kindle, call, rally, vivify, animate, stimulate

Examples from the Web for awaken

Contemporary Examples of awaken

Historical Examples of awaken

  • Poor Omar Ben was a sight to awaken pity, even in the stoniest of hearts.

    A Night Out

    Edward Peple

  • But her interest in his hobby for once failed to awaken his enthusiasm.


    William J. Locke

  • He looked her in the face, but saw nothing to awaken his distrust.

    Other Tales and Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • He was waiting now for Wotan to awaken and to give to him the beautiful Freya.

  • "We would not be so willing to go to sleep if we thought we should not awaken," said the violet.

Word Origin and History for awaken


Old English awæcnan (intransitive), "to spring into being, arise, originate," also, less often, "to wake up;" earlier onwæcnan, from a- (1) "on" + wæcnan (see waken). Transitive meaning "to rouse from sleep" is recorded from 1510s; figurative sense of "to stir up, rouse to activity" is from c.1600.

Originally strong declension (past tense awoc, past participle awacen), already in Old English it was confused with awake (v.) and a weak past tense awæcnede (modern awakened) emerged and has since become the accepted form, with awoke and awoken transferred to awake. Subtle shades of distinction determine the use of awake or awaken in modern English. Related: Awakening.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper