\ ˈwōk How to pronounce woke (audio) \
woker; wokest

Definition of woke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

chiefly US slang
: aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice) But we will only succeed if we reject the growing pressure to retreat into cynicism and hopelessness. … We have a moral obligation to "stay woke," take a stand and be active; challenging injustices and racism in our communities and fighting hatred and discrimination wherever it rises.— Barbara Lee … argued that … Brad Pitt is not only woke, but the wokest man in Hollywood … because he uses his status—and his production company Plan B—to create space for artists of color, with such films as 12 Years a Slave, Selma, and the upcoming film Moonlight.— Giselle Defares


Definition of woke (Entry 2 of 2)

past tense and past participle of wake

First Known Use of woke


1972, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for woke


from past participle of wake entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about woke

Statistics for woke

Time Traveler for woke

The first known use of woke was in 1972

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for woke


Kids Definition of woke

past tense of wake

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on woke

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for woke

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with woke

Spanish Central: Translation of woke

Nglish: Translation of woke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of woke for Arabic Speakers

Comments on woke

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


the exactly right word or phrasing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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