awake

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

arouse, awaken, knock up [British], rouse, wake, waken

Synonyms: Adjective

insomniac, sleepless, wakeful, wide-awake

Antonyms: Verb

lull

Antonyms: Adjective

asleep, dormant, dozing, napping, resting, sleeping, slumbering, unawakened

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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

Gurriel and White awoke Tuesday morning with the worst offensive numbers of any regular Astro. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros outslug Brewers in series opener," 11 June 2019 Some Stow residents awoke to a large and very colorful surprise on Sunday morning. Abigail Feldman, BostonGlobe.com, "Hot air balloon makes a stop in a Stow backyard," 10 June 2019 That sudden switch of focus from being asleep and dreaming to awake and turning off the alarm interferes with the process of remembering. Rowan Hooper, Washington Post, "Decoding dreams: 6 answers to what goes on inside the sleeping mind," 7 Apr. 2018 Lights sprang on in every block in Highland Park as the sound of sirens awoke the sleepers, and within a few minutes there were people up in almost every block in North Dallas. Dallas News, "D-Day as Dallas lived it," 6 June 2019 Moments after Clanton awoke the next morning and walked outside into a courtyard, a heavy artillery barrage fell. Sig Christenson, ExpressNews.com, "On D-Day, San Antonio veterans recall faces of war that never fade," 6 June 2019 Suddenly, Central Missouri had awoken from a deep deficit and whittled Colorado Mesa’s lead to 6-5 in Monday evening’s Division II College World Series quarterfinals. Greg Woods, kansascity, "Central Missouri’s rally falls short in 6-5 loss to Colorado Mesa at DII World Series," 3 June 2019 Sensing a devaluation, the bears have awoken from hibernation to speculate. John Greenwood And, WSJ, "A Lesson in the Virtue of a Stable Currency," 1 Apr. 2019 The loss of the highly radioactive material occurred in March 2017 and was discovered when the two workers awoke the next morning to find the window of their Ford Expedition had been smashed. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Dangerous plutonium stolen from rental car in a hotel parking lot," 16 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Then a 2012 study by neuroscientists at the University of California, San Francisco, led by Loren Frank and Shantanu Jadhav, the latter now at Brandeis University, showed that the ripples also play a role in memory while awake. Simon Makin, Scientific American, "Better Memory Through Electrical Brain Ripples," 14 June 2019 Chimps awake in mood for fun The other apes began to move. National Geographic, "Jane Goodall’s original tale of chimpanzees still astonishes today," 17 Apr. 2019 Dad lays out his ingredients and uses a paring knife to carefully chop everything into tiny, identical cubes while the rest of us slowly stir awake. Washington Post, "For my father, making his masala omelet is an act of precision and love," 6 June 2019 Max was battered—but awake—with Luna crying in his arms. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "That ‘New Amsterdam’ Finale Crash Was So Intense and People Are Not Okay," 15 May 2019 But most people physically can’t stay awake that long, Dr. During points out. Kate Gardner, SELF, "What It’s Like to Be So Sleep Deprived That You Hallucinate," 14 Feb. 2019 When your child is awake, take brief strolls up and down the aisle of the plane. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "How To Survive a Long-Haul Flight With Kids, According to An Emirates Flight Attendant," 29 Apr. 2019 Another, a senior who had grown up near our campus, struggled to stay awake in class. Jonathan W. Wilson, Vox, "My students aren’t asking for safe spaces. They’re repressing past traumas to survive.," 12 Dec. 2018 But if the alternative is getting on one plane for about 10 hours, being jolted awake and forced to carry all my belongings through an airport for an hour or two, then hopping on a second long-haul journey for another 10 hours or so... Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why You Should Always Choose the 20-Hour Flight," 27 Apr. 2018

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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Learn More about awake

Dictionary Entries near awake

Awadhi

await

Awaji

awake

awaken

awakening

awakenment

Statistics for awake

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with awake

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for awake

Spanish Central: Translation of awake

Nglish: Translation of awake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awake for Arabic Speakers

Comments on awake

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