From Middle English bekenen, beknen, becnen, beknien, from Old English bēacnian, bēcnian, bīecnan (“to signal; beckon”), from Proto-West Germanic *bauknōn, *bauknijan (“to signal”), from *baukn (“signal; beacon”). Cognate with Old Saxon bōknian, Old High German bouhnen, Old Norse bákna. More at beacon.
- (transitive, intransitive) To wave or nod to somebody with the intention to make the person come closer.
- 1697, “(please specify the book number)”, in Virgil; John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. […], London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 403869432:
- His distant friends, he beckons near.
- c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene iv]:
- It beckons you to go away with it.
- (transitive, intransitive) To seem attractive and inviting
beckon (plural beckons)
- A sign made without words; a beck.
- A children's game similar to hide and seek in which children who have been "caught" may escape if they see another hider beckon to them.