awake

verb
\ ə-ˈwāk How to pronounce awake (audio) \
awoke\ ə-​ˈwōk How to pronounce awake (audio) \ also awaked\ ə-​ˈwākt How to pronounce awake (audio) \; awoken\ ə-​ˈwō-​kən How to pronounce awake (audio) \ 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

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 In 2021, the largest brood of cicadas in the United States, appropriately named Brood X, will awake from a 17-year sleep and burrow out of the cold earth, ushering in a new season of baroque bug horrors. Aj Willingham, CNN, "2020 was the year of scary bugs, and 2021 will be even worse," 30 Dec. 2020 Some people are sensitive sleepers and will easily awake when their air conditioner cycles between on and off as the compressor adjusts to maintain the room temperature setting. Eric Alt, Popular Science, "Best portable air conditioner: Cool off where you need it most," 17 Dec. 2020 The off-kilter rhythms feel both immersive and agitated, as if Fincher were trying to both hypnotize you and jolt you awake with his lustrous Old Hollywood homage. Justin Chang Film Critic, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Mank’ is a gorgeous dive into film history — and a sharp reflection on our political present," 6 Nov. 2020 The bellboys chose this particular time to stage a wild party in the basement that kept the remaining guests and the neighbors awake half the night. Enid Griffis, Harper's Magazine, "Life During Wartime," 15 Sep. 2020 This time around, Bassitt waited patiently for his slumping offense to awake and he was rewarded by his center fielder. Chris Talbott, Star Tribune, "Laureano, Bassitt lead Athletics past Mariners 3-2," 2 Aug. 2020 Very sad to awake to the news that @carlreiner has passed. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Rob Reiner, Alan Alda, more pay tribute to comedy legend Carl Reiner: 'He is irreplaceable'," 30 June 2020 The arrest came after Minneapolis residents awoke Friday to smoke billowing, fires burning and police lining their streets after another intense night of protests following Floyd's death. Elizabeth Depompei, The Indianapolis Star, "Mike Pence says he supports peaceful protests. Here's how he's responded to them before.," 29 May 2020 Minneapolis awoke to as much as 9 inches (23 centimeters) of snow. David Koenig, Twin Cities, "Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans," 28 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Those awake in the wee hours of the morning of May 26 will be able to see the eclipse begin at 1:47 a.m. in Portland, reaching totality around 4:11 a.m. oregonlive, "Supermoons on the rise this spring, including the ‘pink’ and ‘flower’ full moons," 14 Apr. 2021 Once awake and not actively shooting, all three of these newbie nominees began struggling to absorb the career-shifting news. Los Angeles Times, "Four first-timers adjust to the words ‘Academy Award nominee’," 14 Apr. 2021 Many kids still awake at that time, and even non-consenting adults were unexpectedly staring at pure objectification of women at its finest. Claire Shaffer, Rolling Stone, "The FCC Received Over 1,000 Complaints for Grammys ‘WAP’ Performance," 13 Apr. 2021 Then the Capitals-Red Wings trade jolted everyone awake. Mike Brehm, USA TODAY, "NHL trade deadline 2021 winners, losers: Capitals, Red Wings make last-minute splash," 12 Apr. 2021 And dreams come true — with a lot of wide-awake work. Harvey Mackay, Star Tribune, "Big Dance, big lessons in the game of business," 11 Apr. 2021 There may be another slumbering giant somewhere that needs to be shaken awake. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors president Rick Welts to retire, leaving an indelible Bay Area legacy," 8 Apr. 2021 Kopari formulated this new body wash using energizing ingredients like coffee, hydrating macadamia oil and electrolyte-rich coconut water so your skin feels awake, refreshed and smooth. Kasey Caminiti, Forbes, "9 Body Washes Every Woman Needs In Her Shower," 5 Apr. 2021 Suffering from insomnia can be debilitating, leading to nights spent awake and days filled with exhaustion. Lauren Corona, chicagotribune.com, "How to fall asleep fast," 29 Mar. 2021

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 and Adjective

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

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Time Traveler for awake

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for awake

Cite this Entry

“Awake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awake. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for awake

awake

verb

English Language Learners Definition of awake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

somewhat formal : to stop sleeping : to wake up

awake

adjective

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

: not asleep

awake

verb
\ ə-ˈwāk How to pronounce awake (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on awake

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for awake

Nglish: Translation of awake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awake for Arabic Speakers

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