1 [weyk]
verb (used without object), waked or woke, waked or woken, waking.
to become roused from sleep; awake; awaken; waken (often followed by up ).
to become roused from a tranquil or inactive state; awaken; waken: to wake from one's daydreams.
to become cognizant or aware of something; awaken; waken: to wake to the true situation.
to be or continue to be awake: Whether I wake or sleep, I think of you.
to remain awake for some purpose, duty, etc.: I will wake until you return.
to hold a wake over a corpse.
to keep watch or vigil.
verb (used with object), waked or woke, waked or woken, waking.
to rouse from sleep; awake; awaken; waken (often followed by up ): Don't wake me for breakfast. Wake me up at six o'clock.
to rouse from lethargy, apathy, ignorance, etc. (often followed by up ): The tragedy woke us up to the need for safety precautions.
to hold a wake for or over (a dead person).
to keep watch or vigil over.
a watching, or a watch kept, especially for some solemn or ceremonial purpose.
a watch or vigil by the body of a dead person before burial, sometimes accompanied by feasting or merrymaking.
a local annual festival in England, formerly held in honor of the patron saint or on the anniversary of the dedication of a church but now usually having little or no religious significance.
the state of being awake: between sleep and wake.

before 900; (v.) in sense “to become awake” continuing Middle English waken, Old English *wacan (found only in past tense wōc and the compounds onwacan, āwacan to become awake; see awake (v.)); in sense “to be awake” continuing Middle English waken, Old English wacian (cognate with Old Frisian wakia, Old Saxon wakōn, Old Norse vaka, Gothic wakan); in sense “to rouse from sleep” continuing Middle English waken, replacing Middle English wecchen, Old English weccan, probably altered by association with the other senses and with the k of Old Norse vaka; (noun) Middle English: state of wakefulness, vigil (late Middle English: vigil over a dead body), probably continuing Old English *wacu (found only in nihtwacu night-watch); all ultimately < Germanic *wak- be lively; akin to watch, vegetable, vigil

waker, noun
half-waking, adjective
unwaked, adjective
unwaking, adjective

8. arouse. 9. stimulate, activate, animate, kindle, provoke.

1. sleep.
Dictionary.com Unabridged


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

Dictionary.com 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
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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 addition to the idioms beginning with wake, also see in the wake of; to wake the dead.

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


watch or vigil held over the body of a dead person before burial and sometimes accompanied by festivity; also, in England, a vigil kept in commemoration of the dedication of the parish church. The latter type of wake consisted of an all-night service of prayer and meditation in the church. These services, officially termed Vigiliae by the church, appear to have existed from the earliest days of Anglo-Saxon Christianity. Each parish kept the morrow of its vigil as a holiday. Wakes soon degenerated into fairs; people from neighbouring parishes journeyed over to join in the merrymaking, and the revelry and drunkenness became a scandal. The days usually chosen for church dedications being Sundays and saints' days, the abuse seemed all the more scandalous. In 1445 Henry VI attempted to suppress markets and fairs on Sundays and holy days

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
When the brain realizes it is not getting oxygen, it sends an emergency signal
  to the body to wake up.
They will need to get to work early this morning-provided they wake up, that is.
In addition, the maneuver dubbed wake capture allows insects to utilize energy
  that would normally be lost.
Then it left, leaving a blast of cold winter weather in its wake.
Images for wake
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