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[bek-uh n] /ˈbɛk ən/
verb (used with or 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 beckoned
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He beckoned to Mr. Weller and said, in a stern voice, "Take his skates off!"

    Recitations for the Social Circle James Clarence Harvey
  • Fouts, with a slip of paper in his hand, beckoned him from the door of his private office.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • She beckoned to me, however, and I made haste to follow her.

  • When, five minutes later, she beckoned him from the door of the barn, her eyes were red.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Nasmyth beckoned to Laura and moved forward with Gordon, and Wheeler, who carried the battery.

    The Greater Power Harold Bindloss
British Dictionary definitions for beckoned


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 beckoned



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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