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 exercise
In 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

Examples of wake-up in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Train staff are on hand to welcome first-time sleeper passengers, and will brighten your wake-up call with a warm breakfast too. Julia O'Driscoll, The Week Uk, theweek, 11 June 2024 Their absence amid the current flooding crisis is glaring, say experts, as Russian media describe the emergency as a wake-up call about the creeping threat of global warming and the inadequacy of local flood-control infrastructure. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 June 2024
The homeowner, who lives at the 1000 block of Northwest 4th Avenue, called 911 around 6:30 p.m. after waking up from nap, noticing a pair of children’s shoes by the pool and seeing Ryan Amichette submerged beneath the water, according to an audio clip release by police Wednesday. David Goodhue, Miami Herald, 6 June 2024 On the other hand, if the Cubs don’t wake up soon, Hoyer could be the one looking at a fire sale. Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, 5 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for wake-up 

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 19 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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