1

awake

verb \ ə-ˈwāk \
|Updated on: 25 Jun 2018

Definition of awake

awoke play \-ˈwōk\ also awaked play \-ˈwākt\; awoken play \-ˈwō-kən\ also awaked or awoke; awaking
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
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

Examples of awake in a Sentence

  1. She fell asleep immediately but awoke an hour later.

  2. I awoke several times during the night.

  3. The baby awoke from his nap.

  4. The alarm awoke me early.

  5. They were awoken by a loud bang.

Recent Examples of awake from the Web

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.

The Past Tense Forms of awake and awaken

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'.

Origin and Etymology of awake

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

awake Synonyms

Synonyms

arouse, awaken, rouse, wake, waken;

Antonyms

lull;

Near Antonyms

hypnotize, mesmerize;


2

awake

adjective

Definition of awake

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

Examples of awake in a Sentence

  1. Drinking coffee keeps him awake.

  2. I am so tired I can barely stay awake.

  3. She was lying awake, tossing and turning.

  4. One moment she was sleeping soundly—the next she was wide awake.

Recent Examples of awake from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of awake

see 1awake

Synonym Discussion of awake

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


AWAKE Defined for English Language Learners

awake

Definition of awake for English Language Learners

  • : to stop sleeping : to wake up


awake

Definition of awake for English Language Learners

  • : not asleep


AWAKE Defined for Kids

1

awake

verb \ ə-ˈwāk \

Definition of awake for Students

awoke \-ˈwōk\; awoken \-ˈwō-kən\ or awaked \-ˈwākt\; awaking
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.

2

awake

adjective

Definition of awake for Students

: not asleep


Seen and Heard

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