in the wake of


2 [weyk]
the track of waves left by a ship or other object moving through the water: The wake of the boat glowed in the darkness.
the path or course of anything that has passed or preceded: The tornado left ruin in its wake.
in the wake of,
as a result of: An investigation followed in the wake of the scandal.
succeeding; following: in the wake of the pioneers.

1540–50; < Middle Low German, Dutch wake, or Old Norse vǫk hole in the ice Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
wake1 (weɪk)
vb , wakes, waking, woke, woken
1.  (often foll by up) to rouse or become roused from sleep
2.  (often foll by up) to rouse or become roused from inactivity
3.  (intr; often foll by to or up to) to become conscious or aware: at last he woke to the situation
4.  (intr) to be or remain awake
5.  (tr) to arouse (feelings etc)
6.  dialect to hold a wake over (a corpse)
7.  archaic, dialect or to keep watch over
8.  informal wake up and smell the coffee to face up to reality, especially in an unpleasant situation
9.  a watch or vigil held over the body of a dead person during the night before burial
10.  (in Ireland) festivities held after a funeral
11.  the patronal or dedication festival of English parish churches
12.  a solemn or ceremonial vigil
13.  (usually plural) an annual holiday in any of various towns in northern England, when the local factory or factories close, usually for a week or two weeks
14.  rare the state of being awake
[Old English wacian; related to Old Frisian wakia, Old High German wahtēn]
usage  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

wake2 (weɪk)
1.  the waves or track left by a vessel or other object moving through water
2.  the track or path left by anything that has passed: wrecked houses in the wake of the hurricane
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"to become awake," O.E. wacan "to become awake," also from wacian "to be or remain awake," both from P.Gmc. *waken (cf. O.S. wakon, O.N. vaka, Dan. vaage, O.Fris. waka, Du. waken, O.H.G. wahhen, Ger. wachen "to be awake," Goth. wakan "to watch"), from PIE base *weg- "to be strong, be lively" (cf. Skt.
vajah "force, swiftness, race, prize," vajayati "drives on;" L. vegere, vigere "to be live, be active, quicken," vigil "awake, wakeful," vigor "liveliness, activity"). Causative sense "to rouse from sleep" is attested from c.1300. Phrase wake-up call is attested from 1976, originally a call one received from the hotel desk in the morning.

"track left by a moving ship," 1547, perhaps from M.L.G. or M.Du. wake "hole in the ice," from O.N. vok, vaka "hole in the ice," from P.Gmc. *wakwo. The sense perhaps evolved via "track made by a vessel through ice." Perhaps the Eng. word is directly from Scand. Fig. phrase in the wake of "following
close behind" is recorded from 1806.

"state of wakefulness," O.E. -wacu (as in nihtwacu "night watch"), related to watch; and partly from O.N. vaka "vigil, eve before a feast," related to vaka "be awake" (cf. O.H.G. wahta "watch, vigil," M.Du. wachten "to watch, guard;" see wake (v.)).
Meaning "a sitting up at night with a corpse" is attested from early 15c. (the verb in this sense is recorded from mid-13c.). The custom largely survived as an Irish activity. Wakeman (c.1200), which survives as a surname, was M.E. for "watchman."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

wake definition

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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

in the wake of

  1. Following directly on, as in In the wake of the procession, a number of small children came skipping down the aisle. This usage alludes to the waves made behind a passing vessel. [c. 1800]

  2. In the aftermath of, as a consequence of, as in Famine often comes in the wake of war. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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