exciting; stirring: a rousing song.
active or vigorous: a rousing campaign.
brisk; lively: a rousing business.
exceptional; extraordinary: a rousing lie.

Origin of rousing

First recorded in 1635–45; rouse1 + -ing2
Related formsrous·ing·ly, adverbnon·rous·ing, adjectiveun·rous·ing, adjective



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

to bring out of a state of sleep, unconsciousness, inactivity, fancied security, apathy, depression, etc.: He was roused to action by courageous words.
to stir or incite to strong indignation or anger.
to cause (game) to start from a covert or lair.
Nautical. to pull by main strength; haul.

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rousing

Contemporary Examples of rousing

Historical Examples of rousing

  • The boy, rousing for an instant, would lapse again into stupor.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • As she left for her state-room, a rousing cheer was heard from on deck.

  • He was rousing the dissenters against the Church school of the estate.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • It is not only the existence of war that is rousing the conscience.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • She was on the point of rousing Etienne and of carrying him there in her arms.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for rousing



tending to rouse or excite; lively, brisk, or vigorousa rousing chorus
Derived Formsrousingly, adverb




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 rousing



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