verb (used with object), roused, rous·ing.

verb (used without object), roused, rous·ing.

to come out of a state of sleep, unconsciousness, inactivity, apathy, depression, etc.
to start up from a covert or lair, as game.


a rousing.
a signal for rousing; reveille.

Origin of rouse

1480–90 in sense “(of a hawk) to shake the feathers”; 1525–35 for def 3; origin uncertain
Related formsrous·ed·ness [rou-zid-nis] /ˈraʊ zɪd nɪs/, nounrous·er, nounun·roused, adjective

Synonyms for rouse

Synonym study

1, 2. See incite.

Antonyms for rouse

1, 2. lull, calm, pacify.




Archaic. a carouse.
Obsolete. a bumper of liquor.

Origin of rouse

1595–1605; perhaps variant of carouse (drink carouse being wrongly analyzed as drink a rouse) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rouse

Contemporary Examples of rouse

Historical Examples of rouse

  • They'll take the telephone and rouse the towns all along the mountains.

  • If she could rouse herself to try to save that girl it would be the best thing she could do.

  • I would have sent you word, but I did not want to rouse you.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • But Felicien had discovered one way in which he could rouse her, and he took advantage of it.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • He was as a sportsman, for it would not do to rouse suspicion.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for rouse




to bring (oneself or another person) out of sleep, unconsciousness, etc, or (of a person) to come to consciousness in this way
(tr) to provoke, stir, or exciteto rouse someone's anger
rouse oneself to become active or energetic
hunting to start or cause to start from coverto rouse game birds
(intr) falconry (of hawks) to ruffle the feathers and cause them to stand briefly on end (a sign of contentment)
(raʊs) (intr foll by on) Australian to speak scoldingly or rebukingly (to)


mainly US another term for reveille
Derived Formsrousedness (ˈraʊzɪdnɪs), noun

Word Origin for rouse

C15 (in sense 5): origin obscure



noun archaic

an alcoholic drink, esp a full measure
another word for carousal

Word Origin for rouse

C17: probably a variant of carouse (as in the phrase drink a rouse, erroneous for drink carouse); compare Danish drikke en rus to become drunk, German Rausch drunkenness
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 rouse

mid-15c., intransitive probably from Anglo-French or Old French reuser, ruser, originally used in English of hawks shaking the feathers of the body, but like many hawking terms it is of obscure origin. Figurative meaning "to stir up, provoke to activity" is from 1580s; that of "awaken" is first recorded 1590s. Related: Roused; rousing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper