wak·​en ˈwā-kən How to pronounce waken (audio)
wakened; wakening
ˈwā-kə- How to pronounce waken (audio)

intransitive verb

: awake
often used with up

transitive verb

: to rouse especially out of sleep : wake

Examples of waken in a Sentence

a sudden loud noise wakened us she usually wakens when sunlight begins to stream through the windows
Recent Examples on the Web As the world—wakened by the recent terrorist attacks in Baghdad, Beirut, Paris, and now in California and London, too—struggles to defeat the Islamic State (also called ISIS), the answer is more important than ever. Jacob Olidort, Foreign Affairs, 10 Dec. 2015 Or later consciousness resurfaces in the morning on my return to the wakening world. Christof Koch, Scientific American, 1 Nov. 2017 Two easy arm swing stretches to waken your shoulders after hours hunched over computers and phones. Jonathan Beverly, Outside Online, 19 May 2020 The startling display of acrobatics came, according to police, on Oct. 19, after homeowners in the 700 block of Pershing Drive in Silver Spring were wakened about 2:15 a.m. by the sound of a door. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2019 Before the Sword, by Grace Lin Mulan crept into her house, even though the Rabbit had told her the villagers would not waken even with the loudest of noises. David Canfield, EW.com, 24 Oct. 2019 The homeowner was wakened by the sound of knocking at the front door. Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity, 4 Apr. 2018 She was wakened by an early morning phone call from family in Australia telling her the princess had died in a Paris car accident, then raced to the palace with her daughter and was among the first to leave a floral tribute. Danica Kirka, The Seattle Times, 31 Aug. 2017 Local comedy writer Mary Jo Crowley was asleep when a daytime call came in from her medical office, abruptly wakening her up. Diane Bell, sandiegouniontribune.com, 30 June 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'waken.' 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 waknen, from Old English wæcnian; akin to Old Norse vakna to awaken, Old English wæccan to watch

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of waken was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near waken

Cite this Entry

“Waken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waken. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


wak·​en ˈwā-kən How to pronounce waken (audio)
wakened; wakening ˈwāk-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce waken (audio)
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!