beck·​on | \ ˈbe-kᵊn How to pronounce beckon (audio) \
beckoned; beckoning

Definition of beckon

intransitive verb

1 : to summon or signal typically with a wave or nod My master beckons. He … beckoned to the other generals to come and stand where he stood.— H. E. Scudder
2 : to appear inviting : attract the frontier beckons

transitive verb

: to beckon to beckoned us over to their table

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Other Words from beckon

beckon noun

Synonyms for beckon


flag, gesture, motion, signal, wave

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Examples of beckon in a Sentence

She was beckoning them in to shore. She beckoned the waiter to come over. She beckoned to the waiter to come over. From the time he was a child, the wilderness beckoned to him. The nature preserve beckons bird-watchers, who visit from around the world.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In the late 1800s, as urban factories popped up and jobs beckoned, people fled the country for the city. Country Living Staff, Country Living, "Here's the Real Way to Tell If You Live in the City or the Country," 16 Jan. 2017 Taking to her Instagram Stories this weekend, the super successful model showcased a hot mustard Sommer Swim bikini that is basically beckoning the warmer weather in all on its own. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kendall Jenner Is Just Out Here Causing a Heatwave in Her Tiny Yellow Bikini," 24 Mar. 2019 Sports fields, adventure playgrounds, and off-leash dogwalking areas beckon. Sophie Davies, Condé Nast Traveler, "16 Best Parks in Sydney," 20 Mar. 2018 The school’s sole English teacher is beckoned by the locals, and after introducing himself as Mehmet, kindly offers to guide us to the museum. Bliss Broyard, Condé Nast Traveler, "I Took My Kids Out Of School for Three Months to Travel," 13 July 2018 Comfy couches beckon folks to lounge, play Cards Against Humanity or get lost in their laptops and smartphones. Lori Rackl,, "Moxy hotel opens Wednesday, welcoming 'fun hunters' to River North," 9 May 2018 Short and sweet, these stories paint an idyllic picture of a charming, slow-paced place, the sort that might beckon for the next season of life. Ashley Day, USA TODAY, "Peter Mayle's last chapter from Provence is a charming goodbye," 26 June 2018 Aside from the famous Cloud Gate (AKA the Bean), Millennium Park, and the towering John Hancock building, the city is actually home to a million other landmarks, sights, and quirky neighborhoods that beckon a VSCO filter. Claire Volkman, Marie Claire, "The 8 Most Instagrammable U.S. Cities to Visit This Summer," 1 June 2017 Germany had seemed the place for him in 1914, but now the United States beckoned. Daniel Ford, WSJ, "‘Anthony Fokker’ Review: The Flying Dutchman," 2 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beckon.' 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 beckon

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

History and Etymology for beckon

Middle English beknen, from Old English bīecnan, from bēacen sign — more at beacon

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Statistics for beckon

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for beckon

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

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More Definitions for beckon



English Language Learners Definition of beckon

: to signal (someone) with your arm or hand in order to tell that person to come closer or follow
: to appear attractive or inviting
: to attract (someone or something)


beck·​on | \ ˈbe-kən How to pronounce beckon (audio) \
beckoned; beckoning

Kids Definition of beckon

1 : to call or signal by a motion (as a wave or nod) They beckoned to us to come over.
2 : to appear inviting New adventures were beckoning.

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More from Merriam-Webster on beckon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with beckon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for beckon

Spanish Central: Translation of beckon

Nglish: Translation of beckon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beckon for Arabic Speakers

Comments on beckon

What made you want to look up beckon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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