verb (used with object), roused, rous·ing.
  1. to bring out of a state of sleep, unconsciousness, inactivity, fancied security, apathy, depression, etc.: He was roused to action by courageous words.
  2. to stir or incite to strong indignation or anger.
  3. to cause (game) to start from a covert or lair.
  4. Nautical. to pull by main strength; haul.
verb (used without object), roused, rous·ing.
  1. to come out of a state of sleep, unconsciousness, inactivity, apathy, depression, etc.
  2. to start up from a covert or lair, as game.
  1. a rousing.
  2. 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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rouser

Historical Examples of rouser

  • "An' so you're goin' to put my father down on the black list," said the beetle-browed son of the Rouser.

    Fardorougha, The Miser

    William Carleton

  • Our boys woke up early next morning, for a chill wind sweeping over Swarta Stack was as effectual a rouser as the dressing-bell.

    Viking Boys

    Jessie Margaret Edmondston Saxby

  • The men responded with a faint cheer—they were too much exhausted for "a rouser."

    North-Pole Voyages

    Zachariah Atwell Mudge

  • After this “rouser,” as he called it, he sat down again, and almost immediately fell fast asleep.

    Blown to Bits

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • After this "rouser," as he called it, he sat down again, and almost immediately fell fast asleep.

    Blown to Bits

    Robert Michael Ballantyne

British Dictionary definitions for rouser


    1. a person or thing that rouses people, such as a stirring speech or compelling rock song
    2. (in combination)rabble-rouser


  1. to bring (oneself or another person) out of sleep, unconsciousness, etc, or (of a person) to come to consciousness in this way
  2. (tr) to provoke, stir, or exciteto rouse someone's anger
  3. rouse oneself to become active or energetic
  4. hunting to start or cause to start from coverto rouse game birds
  5. (intr) falconry (of hawks) to ruffle the feathers and cause them to stand briefly on end (a sign of contentment)
  6. (raʊs) (intr foll by on) Australian to speak scoldingly or rebukingly (to)
  1. mainly US another term for reveille
Derived Formsrousedness (ˈraʊzɪdnɪs), noun

Word Origin for rouse

C15 (in sense 5): origin obscure


noun archaic
  1. an alcoholic drink, esp a full measure
  2. 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 rouser

1610s, agent noun from rouse (v.).



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