[ wohk ]
/ woʊk /


a simple past tense of wake1.

adjective, Slang. (often used in the phrase stay woke)

actively aware of systemic injustices and prejudices, especially those related to civil and human rights: In light of recent incidents of police brutality, it’s important to stay woke.He took one African American history class and now he thinks he’s woke.
aware of the facts, true situation, etc. (sometimes used facetiously): The moon landing was staged. Stay woke!A tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable. Stay woke.
awake: I had to drink lots of coffee this morning to stay woke.

Nearby words

  1. waka,
  2. wakamatsu,
  3. wakame,
  4. wakashan,
  5. wakayama,
  6. wake island,
  7. wake-robin,
  8. wake-up,
  9. wake-up call,
  10. wakeboarding

Related formsunwoke, adjective


[ weyk ]
/ weɪk /

verb (used without object), waked or woke, waked or wok·en, wak·ing.

verb (used with object), waked or woke, waked or wok·en, wak·ing.


Origin of wake

before 900; (v.) in sense “to become awake” continuing Middle English waken, Old English *wacan (found only in past tense wōc and the compounds onwacan, āwacan to become awake; see awake (v.)); in sense “to be awake” continuing Middle English waken, Old English wacian (cognate with Old Frisian wakia, Old Saxon wakōn, Old Norse vaka, Gothic wakan); in sense “to rouse from sleep” continuing Middle English waken, replacing Middle English wecchen, Old English weccan, probably altered by association with the other senses and with the k of Old Norse vaka; (noun) Middle English: state of wakefulness, vigil (late Middle English: vigil over a dead body), probably continuing Old English *wacu (found only in nihtwacu night-watch); all ultimately < Germanic *wak- be lively; akin to watch, vegetable, vigil

Related formswak·er, nounhalf-wak·ing, adjectiveun·waked, adjectiveun·wak·ing, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for woke

British Dictionary definitions for woke


/ (wəʊk) /


a past tense of wake 1


/ (weɪk) /

verb wakes, waking, woke or woken


Derived Formswaker, noun

Word Origin for wake

Old English wacian; related to Old Frisian wakia, Old High German wahtēn


Where there is an object and the sense is the literal one wake (up) and waken are the commonest forms: I wakened him; I woke him (up). Both verbs are also commonly used without an object: I woke up . Awake and awaken are preferred to other forms of wake where the sense is a figurative one: he awoke to the danger


/ (weɪk) /


the waves or track left by a vessel or other object moving through water
the track or path left by anything that has passedwrecked houses in the wake of the hurricane

Word Origin for wake

C16: of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse vaka, vök hole cut in ice, Swedish vak, Danish vaage; perhaps related to Old Norse vökr, Middle Dutch wak wet

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 woke
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for woke


A funeral celebration, common in Ireland, at which the participants stay awake all night keeping watch over the body of the dead person before burial. A wake traditionally involves a good deal of feasting and drinking.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with woke


In addition to the idioms beginning with wake

, also see

  • in the wake of
  • to wake the dead


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.