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See also: Harken




harken (third-person singular simple present harkens, present participle harkening, simple past and past participle harkened)

  1. Alternative spelling of hearken ‘to listen, hear, regard’, more common form in the US.
  2. (figuratively, US) To hark back, to return or revert (to a subject etc.), to allude to, to evoke, to long or pine for (a past event or era).
    • 1994, David Coogan, Electronic Writing Centers: Computing the Field of Composition, page 4
      The emerging consensus that writing was merely transcribed speech, then, harkened back to the pre-disciplinary, liberal arts college
    • 2005, Carol Padden, Tom L. Humphries, Inside Deaf Culture, page 48
      Bell argued that the manual approach was "backwards," and harkened to a primitive age where humans used gesture and pantomime.

Usage notes[edit]

The bare form harken has been used since the 1980s, though some authorities frown upon this and prefer the traditional form hark back.


  • harken in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
  • Merriam-Webster’s dictionary of English usage, 1995, p. 497
  • Hark/Hearken”, Paul Brians, Common Errors in English Usage, (2nd Edition, November, 2008)




From early modern Dutch harcken, hercken, from hark (rake).


  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɑrkən



  1. to rake, to use the rake on


Inflection of harken (weak)
infinitive harken
past singular harkte
past participle geharkt
infinitive harken
gerund harken n
present tense past tense
1st person singular hark harkte
2nd person sing. (jij) harkt harkte
2nd person sing. (u) harkt harkte
2nd person sing. (gij) harkt harkte
3rd person singular harkt harkte
plural harken harkten
subjunctive sing.1 harke harkte
subjunctive plur.1 harken harkten
imperative sing. hark
imperative plur.1 harkt
participles harkend geharkt
1) Archaic.

Related terms[edit]