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See also: Rouse and rouše



  • IPA(key): /ˈɹaʊz/
  • (file)
  • Homophone: rows (noisy arguments)
  • Rhymes: -aʊz

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English rousen, from Anglo-Norman reuser, ruser, originally used in English of hawks shaking the feathers of the body, from Latin recusare, by loss of the medial 'c.' Doublet of recuse.

Figurative meaning "to stir up, provoke to activity" is from 1580s; that of "awaken" is first recorded 1590s.

Alternative forms[edit]


rouse (plural rouses)

  1. An arousal.
  2. (military, Britain and Canada) The sounding of a bugle in the morning after reveille, to signal that soldiers are to rise from bed, often the rouse.


rouse (third-person singular simple present rouses, present participle rousing, simple past and past participle roused)

  1. To wake (someone) or be awoken from sleep, or from apathy.
    • c. 1606 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
      Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;
      Night’s black agents to their preys do rouse.
    • 1687, Francis Atterbury, An Answer to Some Considerations on the Spirit of Martin Luther[1], Oxford, pages 41–42:
      As for the heat, with which he treated his other adversaries, ’twas sometimes strain’d a little too far, but in the general was extremely well fitted by the Providence of God to rowse up a people, the most phlegmatic of any in Christendome.
    • 1713, Alexander Pope, Ode for Musick[2], London: Bernard Lintott, stanza 2, p. 3:
      At Musick, Melancholy lifts her Head;
      Dull Morpheus rowzes from his Bed;
    • 1950 January, David L. Smith, “A Runaway at Beattock”, in Railway Magazine, page 53:
      John Hedley was Locomotive Foreman at Beattock. He was in bed, but they roused him, and he gave orders for one of his pilot engines to go up to the summit, get Mitchell's train, and take it to Carlisle.
    • 1979, Bernard Malamud, Dubin’s Lives, New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, Chapter Eight, p. 284,[3]
      Dubin slept through the ringing alarm, aware of Kitty trying to rouse him and then letting him sleep.
  2. To cause, stir up, excite (a feeling, thought, etc.).
    to rouse the faculties, passions, or emotions
    • 1719, [Daniel Defoe], The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe; [], London: [] W[illiam] Taylor [], →OCLC, page 127:
      [] their first Step in Dangers, after the common Efforts are over, was always to despair, lie down under it, and die, without rousing their Thoughts up to proper Remedies for Escape.
    • 1848, Anne Brontë, chapter 27, in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, London: John Murray, published 1900:
      ‘You may think it all very fine, Mr. Huntingdon, to amuse yourself with rousing my jealousy; but take care you don’t rouse my hate instead. And when you have once extinguished my love, you will find it no easy matter to kindle it again.’
    • 1961, V. S. Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas[4], Penguin, published 1992, Part Two, Chapter 5, p. 494:
      [] he had grown to look upon houses as things that concerned other people, like churches, butchers’ stalls, cricket matches and football matches. They had ceased to rouse ambition or misery. He had lost the vision of the house.
  3. To provoke (someone) to action or anger.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book II”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 284-287:
      He scarce had finisht, when such murmur filld
      Th’ Assembly, as when hollow Rocks retain
      The sound of blustring winds, which all night long
      Had rous’d the Sea []
    • 1817 (date written), [Jane Austen], Persuasion; published in Northanger Abbey: And Persuasion. [], volumes (please specify |volume=III or IV), London: John Murray, [], 20 December 1817 (indicated as 1818), →OCLC:
      “A surgeon!” said Anne.
      He caught the word; it seemed to rouse him at once, and saying only—“True, true, a surgeon this instant,” was darting away, when Anne eagerly suggested—
      “Captain Benwick, would not it be better for Captain Benwick? []
    • 1932, William Faulkner, chapter 12, in Light in August, [New York, N.Y.]: Harrison Smith & Robert Haas, →OCLC; republished London: Chatto & Windus, 1933, →OCLC, page 254:
      He tried to argue with her. But it was like trying to argue with a tree: she did not even rouse herself to deny, she just listened quietly and then talked again in that level, cold tone as if he had never spoken.
    • 1980, J. M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians[5], Penguin, published 1982, page 108:
      The words they stopped me from uttering may have been very paltry indeed, hardly words to rouse the rabble.
  4. To cause to start from a covert or lurking place.
    to rouse a deer or other animal of the chase
  5. (nautical) To pull by main strength; to haul.
    • 1832, [Frederick Marryat], chapter 5, in Newton Forster; or, The Merchant Service. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), London: James Cochrane and Co., [], →OCLC, page 71:
      Tom, you and the boy rouse the cable up—get about ten fathoms on deck, and bend it.
  6. (obsolete) To raise; to make erect.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book I, Canto XI”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC, page 157:
      And ouer, all with brasen scales was armd,
      Like plated cote of steele, so couched neare,
      That nought mote perce, ne might his corse bee harmd
      With dint of swerd, nor push of pointed speare,
      Which as an Eagle, seeing pray appeare,
      His aery plumes doth rouze, full rudely dight,
      So shaked he, that horror was to heare,
      For as the clashing of an Armor bright,
      Such noyse his rouzed scales did send vnto the knight.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene iii]:
      He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
      Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
      And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
  7. (slang, when followed by "on") To tell off; to criticise.
    He roused on her for being late yet again.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

First attested in the late 16th Century. From carouse, from rebracketing of the phrase “drink carouse” as “drink a rouse”.


rouse (plural rouses)

  1. An official ceremony over drinks.
  2. A carousal; a festival; a drinking frolic.
    • 1842, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Vision of Sin”, in Poems[6], volume 2, London: Edward Moxon, page 219:
      Fill the cup, and fill the can:
      Have a rouse before the morn:
      Every minute dies a man,
      Every minute one is born.
  3. Wine or other liquor considered an inducement to mirth or drunkenness; a full glass; a bumper.


  • A. Brachet (1868) An etymological dictionary of the French language





  1. inflection of rousar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative