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From Middle English awakenen or awaknen, from Old English awæcnan or awæcnian, from a- plus wæcnan or wæcnian.



awaken (third-person singular simple present awakens, present participle awakening, simple past and past participle awakened)

  1. (transitive) To cause to become awake.
    She awakened him by ringing the bell.
  2. (transitive, figuratively) To bring into action (something previously dormant); to stimulate.
    Awaken your entrepreneurial spirit!
    We hope to awaken your interest in our programme.
  3. (intransitive) To stop sleeping.
    Each morning he awakens with a smile in his face.
  4. Rare passive participle of awake.
    1665 Robert Hooke, Micrographia
    [This ant] I ſuffered to lye above an hour in the Spirit; and after I had taken it out, and put its body and legs into a natural poſture, remained moveleſs about an hour; but then , upon a ſudden, as if it had been awaken out of a drunken ſleep, it ſuddenly reviv'd and ran away...


  • (intransitive, to stop sleeping): awake, stir