\ˈwāk \
woke\ˈwōk \ also waked\wākt \; woken\ˈwō-​kən \ or waked also woke; waking

Definition of wake 

(Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to be or remain awake

b archaic : to remain awake on watch especially over a corpse

c obsolete : to stay up late in revelry

2 : awake often used with up

transitive verb

1 : to stand watch over (someone or something) especially : to hold a wake over

2a : to rouse from or as if from sleep : awake often used with up

b : stir, excite woke up latent possibilities— Norman Douglas

c : to arouse conscious interest in : alert usually used with to woke the public to the risks


noun (1)

Definition of wake (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : the state of being awake

2a(1) : an annual English parish festival formerly held in commemoration of the church's patron saint

(2) : vigil sense 3a

b : the festivities originally connected with the wake of an English parish church usually used in pl. but singular or plural in construction

c British : an annual holiday or vacation usually used in pl. but singular or plural in construction

3 : a watch held over the body of a dead person prior to burial and sometimes accompanied by festivity


noun (2)

Definition of wake (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : the track left by a moving body (such as a ship) in a fluid (such as water) broadly : a track or path left

in the wake of

1 : close behind and in the same path of travel missionaries arrived in the wake of conquistadors and soldiers— Sabine MacCormack

2 : as a result of : as a consequence of power vacuums left in the wake of the second world war— A. M. Schlesinger born 1917

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Other Words from wake


waker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for wake

Synonyms: Verb

arouse, awake, awaken, knock up [British], rouse, waken

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of wake in a Sentence


She can never remember her dreams upon waking. my banging around in the kitchen woke my wife

First Known Use of wake


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

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1627, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wake


partly from Middle English waken (past wook, past participle waken), from Old English wacan to awake (past wōc, past participle wacen); partly from Middle English wakien, waken (past & past participle waked), from Old English wacian to be awake (past wacode, past participle wacod); akin to Old English wæccan to watch, Latin vegēre to enliven

Noun (2)

akin to Middle Low German wake wake, Norwegian dialect vok, Old Norse vǫk hole in ice

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Time Traveler for wake

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

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More Definitions for wake



English Language Learners Definition of wake

: to cause (a person or animal) to be awake after sleeping

: to stop sleeping : to become awake after sleeping


\ˈwāk \
woke\ˈwōk \ also waked; woken\ˈwō-​kən \ or waked also woke; waking

Kids Definition of wake

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to arouse from sleep : awake

Hint: This sense of wake is often used with up.
Wake us up at six.

2 : to become alert or aware



Kids Definition of wake (Entry 2 of 3)

: a watch held over the body of a dead person before burial



Kids Definition of wake (Entry 3 of 3)

: a track or mark left by something moving especially in the water a motorboat's wake

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More from Merriam-Webster on wake

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wake

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wake

Spanish Central: Translation of wake

Nglish: Translation of wake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wake for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wake

Comments on wake

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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