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

intransitive verb

: 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
: to appear inviting : attract
the frontier beckons

transitive verb

: to beckon to
beckoned us over to their table
beckon noun

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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These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'beckon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English bekenen, bikenen, becknien, becknyn, going back to Old English bēcnan, bīcnan, bīcnian, bēacnian "to make a mute gesture to, summon, symbolize, portend, reveal," going back to West Germanic *bauhnjan- or *bauhnōjan- (whence also Old Saxon bōknian "to portend, give as a token," Old High German bouhhanen, bouhnen "to give a sign or token, signify"), weak verb derivatives of *baukn- "sign, signal" — more at beacon entry 1

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near beckon

Cite this Entry

“Beckon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


beck·​on ˈbek-ən How to pronounce beckon (audio)
beckoned; beckoning
ˈbek- (ə-)niŋ
: to call or signal to a person usually by a wave or nod
they beckoned us to come over
: to appear inviting
new adventures were beckoning

More from Merriam-Webster on beckon

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