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[uh-wey-kuh n] /əˈweɪ kən/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to awake; waken.
Origin of awaken
before 900; Middle English awak(e)nen, Old English awæcnian earlier onwæcnian. See a-1, waken
Related forms
awakenable, adjective
awakener, noun
reawaken, verb
well-awakened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for awaken
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Remember that when I see you, you awaken much sorrow and much joy.

    Against the Current Edward A. Steiner
  • But her interest in his hobby for once failed to awaken his enthusiasm.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • One of my duties was to awaken these poor, little waif children for Mass at five thirty in the morning.

    The Demands of Rome Elizabeth Schoffen
  • Poor Omar Ben was a sight to awaken pity, even in the stoniest of hearts.

    A Night Out Edward Peple
  • He does outrage to a bona Dea: she to the monasticism of the Court of Law: and he and she awaken unhallowed emotions.

Word Origin and History for awaken

Old English awæcnan (intransitive), "to spring into being, arise, originate," also, less often, "to wake up;" earlier onwæcnan, from a- (1) "on" + wæcnan (see waken). Transitive meaning "to rouse from sleep" is recorded from 1510s; figurative sense of "to stir up, rouse to activity" is from c.1600.

Originally strong declension (past tense awoc, past participle awacen), already in Old English it was confused with awake (v.) and a weak past tense awæcnede (modern awakened) emerged and has since become the accepted form, with awoke and awoken transferred to awake. Subtle shades of distinction determine the use of awake or awaken in modern English. Related: Awakening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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