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 As the warning sirens kicked in at four in the morning, only Sooki was awake. Ann Patchett, Harper's Magazine, "These Precious Days," 5 Jan. 2021 After a while, some patients will be awake with no sedation and breathing with that when they get used to it. al, "Inside Alabama hospitals, through the eyes of five nurses," 4 Jan. 2021 Evanston apartment back to his parents’ bedroom and checks if his mom is awake. Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com, "Column: An Evanston family lost everything in a fire 2 days before Christmas. Their neighbors rushed to help make them whole.," 29 Dec. 2020 The puppy, though, was awake by 7:30 a.m. and antsy for a walk. Lizzie Johnson, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco residents marvel at ‘Christmas miracle’ of gingerbread monolith in park," 25 Dec. 2020 Chipmunks are awake but stay in and eat from food stored in their underground burrows. Star Tribune, "Winter isn't as dormant as one might expect; there's action amid inaction," 24 Dec. 2020 After being mostly asleep for eight days, Meredith is awake. Lincee Ray, EW.com, "Grey's Anatomy recap: It looks like Meredith is going to make it," 18 Dec. 2020 Dog movement was related to human movement, and humans were 4.3 times more likely to be awake during dog activity than inactivity. Kelly Conaboy, The Atlantic, "Is It Okay to Let My Dog Sleep in My Bed?," 8 Dec. 2020 The federal transportation safety board's report concludes that most were awake but could not escape before being overcome. NBC News, "Captain of Conception dive boat indicted on 34 manslaughter counts in deadly fire," 2 Dec. 2020

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

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Awake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awake. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for awake

awake

verb
How to pronounce awake (audio)

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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Comments on awake

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