1 of 2


: serving to wake up
a wake-up alarm

wake up

2 of 2


woke up also waked up; woken up also waked up; waking up; wakes up

transitive + intransitive

: to cease sleeping : to become awake
I woke up late this morning.
When I woke up on Monday the sky was the color of mercury, and the air was heavy with moisture.Ann M. Martin
: to rouse (a person or animal) from or as if from sleep
The sound of a door slamming woke him up.
: to become aware or to make (someone) aware of something (such as an existing problem or danger)
They finally woke up and realized what was happening.
usually used with to
a study that woke people up to the importance of regular exerciseIn 1997, … Jacob Nielsen predicted that if newspapers didn't wake up to the threat of online classified advertising and dominate the field by 1998, many of them would die within a decade.Emily Benedek
: to make (something) active : arouse, stir
"And what joy and cheerfulness it wakes up within us, to see all nature beaming in brightness and sunshine …" added Alice …Charles Dickens

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Instead, Rothstein suggests using a sleep-tracking device or app that monitors your body’s movement and heart rate to help determine your body’s natural bedtime and wake-up time. L'oreal Thompson Payton, Fortune Well, 13 May 2023 One of the latest is an ultrasmall terahertz wake-up receiver chip designed by MIT engineers. IEEE Spectrum, 8 May 2023 Looking for an excuse to get out, Michaelis had several wake-up calls. Laurie Udesky, USA TODAY, 6 May 2023 With the ceremony starting at 6 a.m. Eastern time, that’s an early wake-up call. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, 3 May 2023 The headlines as well as social media chatter around layoffs should be a wake-up call for all organizations to strengthen their communications and retention by using company culture as the glue that holds them together. Dinesh Sheth, Forbes, 3 May 2023 Officials described the exam as an alarming wake-up call. Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, 1 May 2023 The journey has been pretty chill and easy, despite a 4 a.m. wake-up. Jessica Ritz, Travel + Leisure, 28 Apr. 2023 This alone should be a wake-up call to be wary of the RESTRICT Act. Landon Block, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Apr. 2023
On a usual Sunday morning, Timm Chiusano has a somewhat extreme routine: a 4 a.m. alarm, emails, a 3.6-mile walk to the Brooklyn promenade, and a visit to the gym, all before most people wake up. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 19 Apr. 2023 Putin's Ukraine invasion 'woke up the Taiwanese people,' McCaul says April 8, 202301:35 Late Saturday, Taiwan’s Ocean Affairs Council, which runs the coast guard, put out video on its YouTube channel showing one of its ships shadowing a Chinese warship, though did not give an exact location. Reuters, NBC News, 9 Apr. 2023 The soft and breathable fabric is expertly positioned to keep you cool all night long — no waking up and searching for the cool side required. Amy Schulman, Peoplemag, 8 Apr. 2023 But there are always moments for Tiger when the golf gods wake up and decide his fortunes are about to change. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, 6 Apr. 2023 My immigrant mom, who woke up at 7 a.m. and already made breakfast and scrubbed the kitchen, would intermittently holler at my siblings and me to get up, giving us a few chances to finally roll out of bed. Irene Franco Rubio, refinery29.com, 6 Apr. 2023 Barbara woke up at her Lawrence home Sept. 28 and coughed up a little bit of blood, said her daughter Kami Spear. The Indianapolis Star, 5 Apr. 2023 But this was a wake up call. Elizabeth Mitchell Kadar, Good Housekeeping, 4 Apr. 2023 Explorations Wait, don’t miss out on these striking stories: — Take a look at 10 searing photos that made the world wake up to the climate crisis. Katie Hunt, CNN, 1 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


1946, in the meaning defined above


1767, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wake-up was in 1767

Dictionary Entries Near wake-up

Cite this Entry

“Wake-up.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wake-up. Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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