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8 Words That Are Older Than You Think

awaken

[uh-wey-kuh n] /əˈweɪ kən/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
1.
to awake; waken.
Origin
900
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin and History for re awaken

awaken

v.

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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