beck·on | \ ˈbe-kᵊn \
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

Uruguay’s defense never gave Ronaldo room to breathe and show off his full array of skills and his frustration was clear to see the longer the game progressed and elimination beckoned. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Soccer's two biggest stars out of World Cup after Uruguay defeats Ronaldo, Portugal," 30 June 2018 Fame will never come beckoning for this artist, because this music is too often performed, so much so that people have lost their discernment for when it is performed well. Kevin Williams,, "Tunes for cash-strapped times — six shows for less than $50," 20 Mar. 2018 Statues, of all sizes and degrees of life-likeness, stare from shelves, beckoning to be bought. Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, "Amid immigration uncertainties, Latinos turn to a power higher than Trump," 20 June 2018 Bagley’s father, Marvin Bagley Jr., grabs the mic, beckoning for his now-famous son to show off his lyrical stylings in front of a room largely filled with strangers. Jake Fischer,, "Marvin Bagley: 'I Still Think I Could Be the No. 1 Pick'," 20 June 2018 Nearby, a platter of tiny tea sandwiches (three kinds!) beckoned — egg salad, cucumber and cream cheese, and turkey with cheddar, as did bowls of pecans, raspberries and cookies. Carolyne Zinko, San Francisco Chronicle, "After 51 years serving SF, protocol queen Charlotte Shultz undaunted by elections, cancer," 29 May 2018 And the area’s beauty beckoned; though only 45 miles from Hartford, driving to Warren is entering a tunnel to a world colored only in green — green exploding from every leaf, off every field of new corn and stalk of young grass. Matthew Ormseth,, "Philip Roth, Novelist and Warren Resident, Remembered By Those Who Knew Him," 24 May 2018 What first struck me, nearly literally, was the large basket of yellow bags with a sign beckoning visitors to take one. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "My first IKEA experience: What newbies can expect when the store opens in Oak Creek May 16," 9 May 2018 The latter is a bloody red howl beckoning your ancestral primal beast to attack. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "Radio Anago is Brendan Sodikoff’s sushi cave under the deep dark sea . . .," 3 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

14 Sep 2018

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 \
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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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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