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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to signal, summon, or direct by a gesture of the head or hand.
  2. to lure; entice.
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  1. a nod, gesture, etc., that signals, directs, summons, indicates agreement, or the like.
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Origin of beckon

before 950; Middle English beknen, Old English gebē(a)cnian, derivative of bēacen beacon
Related formsbeck·on·er, nounbeck·on·ing·ly, adverbun·beck·oned, adjective

Synonyms for beckon

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for beckoned

attract, invite, entice, tempt, pull, draw, coax, nod, wave, summon, motion, allure, command, demand, ask, gesticulate, sign, bid, gesture

Examples from the Web for beckoned

Contemporary Examples of beckoned

Historical Examples of beckoned

  • Fouts, with a slip of paper in his hand, beckoned him from the door of his private office.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • When, five minutes later, she beckoned him from the door of the barn, her eyes were red.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Young Howard beckoned to the professor from his place in the ranks.

  • One of the Stewards, following him with quick eyes, saw Mike and beckoned with a finger.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Her mother laid her finger on her lips, and beckoned silently.

    The Little Colonel

    Annie Fellows Johnston

British Dictionary definitions for beckoned


  1. to summon with a gesture of the hand or head
  2. to entice or lure
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  1. a summoning gesture
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Derived Formsbeckoner, nounbeckoning, adjective, noun

Word Origin for beckon

Old English bīecnan, from bēacen sign; related to Old Saxon bōknian; see beacon
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

Word Origin and History for beckoned



Old English gebecnian (West Saxon beacnian) "to make a mute sign," derivative of beacen "a sign, beacon," from Proto-Germanic *bauknjan (cf. Old Saxon boknian, Old High German bouhnen), from PIE root *bha- "to shine" (see beacon). Related: Beckoned; beckoning. The noun is attested from 1718, from the verb.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper