heark·​en ˈhär-kən How to pronounce hearken (audio)
variants or harken
hearkened or harkened; hearkening ˈhärk-niŋ How to pronounce hearken (audio)
or harkening

intransitive verb

: listen
hearkened without much mental commentTheodore Dreiser
: to give respectful attention
the humble folk who hearkened to these evangelistsG. M. Stephenson
: to bring to mind something in the past : hearken back
Portrayals of dinosaurs with lizard-like tongues hearken to early interpretations of the beasts as oversized lizards.Mindy Weisberger

transitive verb

archaic : to give heed to : hear

Examples of hearken in a Sentence

hearken! I hear the distant beat of the hooves of many horses
Recent Examples on the Web Masterpiece Theater Climate activist attacks on works by van Gogh, Vermeer, and other art world titans are the latest in a tradition of destruction that hearkens to the early Christian zealots. JSTOR Daily, 24 June 2024 Alex Kent / Getty Images In the eyes of some activists, the tumult at Columbia this week hearkens to more recent protest movements. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, 1 May 2024 Classic Rock Couture’s fashion aesthetics hearken to the styles of Arizona daughters Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt during their 1970s rocker heydays. Jose R. Gonzalez, The Arizona Republic, 3 Mar. 2024 Indeed, his brand of country hearkens to the early 1970s, when country music and rock music mingled freely and no one paid much mind. Preston Jones, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 31 Jan. 2024 See all Example Sentences for hearken 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hearken.' 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 herknen, from Old English heorcnian; akin to Old High German hōrechen to listen, Old English hīeran to hear

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near hearken

Cite this Entry

“Hearken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hearken. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


hearkened; hearkening

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