awake

verb
\ə-ˈwāk \
awoke\-ˈwōk \ also awaked\-ˈwākt \; awoken\-ˈwō-kən \ also awaked or awoke; awaking

Definition of awake 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to cease sleeping : to wake up She awoke late that morning. The next day we awoke to the sound of drums.— Sarah Ferrell

2 : to become aroused or active again when the volcano awoke

3 : to become conscious or aware of something awoke to the possibilities At the same time, Italian prosecutors awoke to the international magnitude of their Sicilian underworld …— Selwyn Raab

transitive verb

1 : to arouse from sleep or a sleeplike state He was awoken by the storm.

2 : to make active : to stir up an experience that awoke old memories

awake

adjective

Definition of awake (Entry 2 of 2)

: fully conscious, alert, and aware : not asleep I'm so tired I can barely stay awake.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for awake

Synonyms: Verb

arouse, awaken, rouse, wake, waken

Synonyms: Adjective

alert, Argus-eyed, attentive, observant, open-eyed, vigilant, watchful, wide-awake

Antonyms: Verb

lull

Antonyms: Adjective

asleep

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Choose the Right Synonym for awake

Adjective

aware, cognizant, conscious, sensible, alive, awake mean having knowledge of something. aware implies vigilance in observing or alertness in drawing inferences from what one experiences. aware of changes in climate cognizant implies having special or certain knowledge as from firsthand sources. not fully cognizant of the facts conscious implies that one is focusing one's attention on something or is even preoccupied by it. conscious that my heart was pounding sensible implies direct or intuitive perceiving especially of intangibles or of emotional states or qualities. sensible of a teacher's influence alive adds to sensible the implication of acute sensitivity to something. alive to the thrill of danger awake implies that one has become alive to something and is on the alert. a country always awake to the threat of invasion

The Past Tense Forms of Awake and Awaken

Verb

Awake and awaken are two distinct verbs that mean the same thing. In other words, they're synonyms, and in the present tense they each behave the way English verbs typically behave:

The cat awakes at dawn.

The cat awakens at dawn.

Things get trickier in the past tense.

Our modern verb awake is the result of the long-ago melding of two older verbs. These verbs were very similar, but one had regular past tense forms (like play: played, has played) and the other had irregular past tense forms (like take: took, has taken).

When the two verbs melded into the modern awake (which was a process over many years), things got complicated, resulting ultimately in the following grammatically permissible sentences:

The cat awaked at dawn.

The cat awoke at dawn.

The cat was awaked by the mouse at dawn.

The cat was awoken by the mouse at dawn.

Note, though, that at this point, these are the most common:

The cat awoke at dawn.

The cat was awoken by the mouse at dawn.

That's the story of awake. Fortunately awaken (which was originally one of the past tense forms of awake) is simpler. It's a regular verb, which means it has the usual past tense forms:

The cat awakened at dawn.

The cat was awakened at dawn by a mouse.

As if all this weren't complicated enough, awake is also an adjective:

Because of the cat, I too am now awake.

For a detailed discussion of the history of these words, please see the The Grammatical History of 'Awaken' / 'Awoken' / 'Awakened'.

Examples of awake in a Sentence

Verb

She fell asleep immediately but awoke an hour later. I awoke several times during the night. The baby awoke from his nap. The alarm awoke me early. They were awoken by a loud bang.

Adjective

Drinking coffee keeps him awake. I am so tired I can barely stay awake. She was lying awake, tossing and turning. One moment she was sleeping soundly—the next she was wide awake.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Dowling was awoken to Wedl’s hand on the back of her leg, the suit said. Crystal Hill, sacbee, "Woman fell asleep on United flight — and awoke to off-duty pilot groping her, lawsuit says," 11 July 2018 On January 25, 2016, one of 2Sops’ flight commanders, Captain Aaron Blain, was awoken by a call from work in the middle of the night. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "The New Arms Race Threatening to Explode in Space," 26 June 2018 When the world awoke two years ago to the news that a gunman had killed 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, one immediate question was: Why that place? Tim Fitzsimons /, NBC News, "What really happened that night at Pulse," 12 June 2018 Like many members of the Baby Boomer generation, Josh Mankiewicz awoke on June 5, 1968, to the news that Sen. Robert F. Kennedy had been shot shortly after celebrating his California Democratic presidential primary win. Stephen Battaglio, latimes.com, "Robert Kennedy assassination: a time of terror, disbelief and sorrow, much of it live on TV," 4 June 2018 In 1966, the city of Chicago awoke to the shocking news that eight student nurses had been brutally slain during the night in a South Side dormitory. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 14 July 2018 Their anxious parents awoke Saturday on plastic chairs for the seventh day in a row. Time, "Thailand Clings to Hope as the Search for a Missing Soccer Team Enters Its Seventh Day," 30 June 2018 On June 12, 2016, high school sophomore Amanda Fugleberg awoke to the shocking news that dozens of people had been killed in a shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub just 15 minutes from her Orlando, Fla., home. Caroline Simon, USA TODAY, "2 years after the Pulse nightclub shooting, young gun-control activists plan 'die-in' on Capitol Hill," 12 June 2018 Following the newsletter that was sent to members of the Twenty One Pilots mailing list last week (July 6), the band's social media has awoken and the new era has begun. Alessandra Rincón, Billboard, "Twenty One Pilots Billboards Popped Up in Major Cities Overnight: See Pics," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Even when a seal is sedated though, the crew must remain alert as they are surrounded by fully awake, burly seals. Kasha Patel, Smithsonian, "How Data-Gathering Seals Help Scientists Measure the Melting Antarctic," 13 July 2018 Death violently shakes us awake, time and time again. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "Doing It for the ‘Gram Turns Deadly," 9 July 2018 Death violently shakes us awake, time and time again. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Three YouTube travel influencers die in waterfall accident in British Columbia," 6 July 2018 Gyllenhaal gives a startling and intricate performance as a woman who is beaten down yet wide awake, ready to pounce on any possibility of upward mobility. Joy Press, HWD, "How The Deuce Turned Its Lens on a Female Porn Auteur," 20 June 2018 Ferguson is now reported to be awake and talking following emergency surgery, but Ronaldo was clearly concerned for the man who brought him to Old Trafford from Sporting CP for £12m in 2003. SI.com, "Cristiano Ronaldo Reveals the Reason for Not Celebrating His Goal Against Barcelona on Sunday," 9 May 2018 In 2017, again with a court’s OK, another Texas hospital cut off life support from 46-year-old Chris Dunn, who was awake and communicative, but descending into organ failure because of pancreatic cancer. James Freeman, WSJ, "Alfie Evans and the State," 25 Apr. 2018 Its giant-eared monsters are a blank canvas onto which audiences can project any of the terrors that keep them awake at night—gun violence, rising nuclear tensions, ever more devastating natural disasters. Eliza Berman, Time, "John Krasinski and Emily Blunt on," 5 Apr. 2018 What if a victim of brain trauma who is supposedly in a vegetative state is actually fully awake but unable to even blink an eye to communicate? Andrea Gawrylewski, Scientific American, "Bug Lovers, Earth’s Many Apocalypses, the Surprising Minds of Vegetative Patients and Other New Science Books," 1 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'awake.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of awake

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for awake

Verb

Middle English awaken (from Old English awacan, onwacan, from a- entry 1, on + wacan to awake) & awakien, from Old English awacian, from a- entry 1 + wacian to be awake — more at wake

Adjective

see awake entry 1

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Learn More about awake

Phrases Related to awake

awake to

Statistics for awake

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for awake

The first known use of awake was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for awake

awake

verb

English Language Learners Definition of awake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to stop sleeping : to wake up

awake

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of awake (Entry 2 of 2)

: not asleep

awake

verb
\ə-ˈwāk \
awoke\-ˈwōk \; awoken\-ˈwō-kən \ or awaked\-ˈwākt \; awaking

Kids Definition of awake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to stop sleeping : wake up The baby awoke from his nap.

2 : to make or become conscious or aware of something They finally awoke to the danger.

awake

adjective

Kids Definition of awake (Entry 2 of 2)

: not asleep

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Comments on awake

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