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

Definition of hearken

intransitive verb

1 : listen hearkened without much mental comment— Theodore Dreiser
2 : to give respectful attention the humble folk who hearkened to these evangelists— G. M. Stephenson
3 : 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for hearken



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Examples of hearken in a Sentence

hearken! I hear the distant beat of the hooves of many horses
Recent Examples on the Web Instead, rooms and suites now feature palettes with tans, taupes, sea-glass greens, and pelagic blues that hearken to the nearby beach. Eric Rosen, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2021 Their meals mingled the specialties of Osorio’s native Peru with desserts and baking that often hearken to Bell’s Kentucky upbringing. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 8 Dec. 2020 MacAdams donned a white suit and painted himself green to hearken the ghost of William Mulholland, chief engineer of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2020 Readers responded to stories that hearkened to the best mystery writing of the past but whose style spoke to the present. Sarah Weinman, Los Angeles Times, 1 Feb. 2020 Shows like Gunsmoke pulled the little bit of cowboy that was in all of us to the surface, and the world was ripe for a .22 LR single-action revolver that hearkened to the Old West. Richard Mann, Field & Stream, 6 June 2019 Brady’s cameo, some felt, hearkened to the Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who was charged in February with soliciting prostitution at a massage parlor in Florida. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, 21 Oct. 2019 The garments hearken to past centuries when the lines between gender were not so fixed, when men wore ruffles and silk stockings and everyone wore wigs and powdered their hair. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, 29 Sep. 2019 Laced with scripture, historical references, and even a quote from beloved novelist Toni Morrison, Booker's remarks hearkened a familiar stump theme of his—the power of love, according to CBS Campaign Reporter LaCrai Mitchell. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, 7 Aug. 2019

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

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

History and Etymology for hearken

Middle English herknen, from Old English heorcnian; akin to Old High German hōrechen to listen, Old English hīeran to hear

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Time Traveler for hearken

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Hearken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hearken. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for hearken


hear·​ken | \ ˈhär-kən How to pronounce hearken (audio) \
hearkened; hearkening

Kids Definition of hearken


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