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[wey-kuh n] /ˈweɪ kən/
verb (used with object)
to rouse from sleep; wake; awake; awaken.
to rouse from inactivity; stir up or excite; arouse; awaken:
to waken the reader's interest.
verb (used without object)
to wake, or become awake; awaken.
Origin of waken
before 900; Middle English waknen, Old English wæcnan; cognate with Old Norse vakna; akin to wake1; see -en1
Related forms
wakener, noun
rewaken, verb
unwakened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for waken
Historical Examples
  • He hurried back with all speed to his high home in the clouds, for he feared that Juno might waken and find out what he had done.

    Old Greek Stories James Baldwin
  • I am sorry to waken you, Sidney, but I don't know what to do.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Photogen slept, and slept; and Nycteris sat motionless lest she should waken him, and so betray him to his fear.

  • I doze for a little, and when I waken there are people in the room.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • They waken the Juliets just a moment too late to save the Romeos and themselves.

    We Can't Have Everything Rupert Hughes
  • Maria had warned her not to waken her grandfather, so she admired it in whispers.

    The Little Colonel Annie Fellows Johnston
  • Nor did she waken until the sun was high in the sky and the bustle of the busy city floated up through the open window.

    Heart of Gold Ruth Alberta Brown
  • It seemed to waken all the room into new vibrations of life.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • Who would not waken to hear it, however sweet his morning slumbers might be to him?

  • He went closer to her, trying to waken her passion by the strength of his.

    Changing Winds St. John G. Ervine
British Dictionary definitions for waken


to rouse or be roused from sleep or some other inactive state
Derived Forms
wakener, noun
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 waken

"to become awake," Old English wæcnan, wæcnian "to rise, spring," from the same source as wake (v.). Figurative sense was in Old English. Transitive sense of "to arouse (someone or something) from sleep" is recorded from c.1200. Related: Wakened; wakening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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