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[bek-uh n] /ˈbɛk ən/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to signal, summon, or direct by a gesture of the head or hand.
to lure; entice.
a nod, gesture, etc., that signals, directs, summons, indicates agreement, or the like.
Origin of beckon
before 950; Middle English beknen, Old English gebē(a)cnian, derivative of bēacen beacon
Related forms
beckoner, noun
beckoningly, adverb
unbeckoned, adjective
1. motion, wave, gesture, bid, nod. 2. invite, attract, draw, coax, tempt, tantalize, allure, beguile. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for beckon
  • Now that the fall semester is upon us, however, more serious pursuits beckon.
  • If another large bank became vulnerable, more rescues would beckon.
  • Suddenly, he awakes in his father's shop, surrounded by books that beckon to him endlessly.
  • Their dark portals beckon with the promise of a glimpse into a lost world.
  • Even as you approach them, plates and vases beckon from little shops and stalls.
  • The ground-floor space facing the future park doesn't beckon neighbors with shops or a cafe.
  • But any new leadership would be unstable, and early elections may beckon.
  • Unfortunately bulldozers often come before brains when quick profits beckon.
  • They beckon to me with their treasure-hunt shimmer, their ecological tie to recycling.
  • In the meantime, other ways of using cars as media platforms are beginning to beckon.
British Dictionary definitions for beckon


to summon with a gesture of the hand or head
to entice or lure
a summoning gesture
Derived Forms
beckoner, noun
beckoning, adjective, noun
Word Origin
Old English bīecnan, from bēacen sign; related to Old Saxon bōknian; see beacon
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
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Word Origin and History for beckon

Old English gebecnian (West Saxon beacnian) "to make a mute sign," derivative of beacen "a sign, beacon," from Proto-Germanic *bauknjan (cf. Old Saxon boknian, Old High German bouhnen), from PIE root *bha- "to shine" (see beacon). Related: Beckoned; beckoning. The noun is attested from 1718, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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