from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To cease to sleep; become awake: overslept and woke late.
  • intransitive v. To stay awake: Bears wake for spring, summer, and fall and hibernate for the winter.
  • intransitive v. To be brought into a state of awareness or alertness: suddenly woke to the danger we were in.
  • intransitive v. To keep watch or guard, especially over a corpse.
  • transitive v. To rouse from sleep; awaken.
  • transitive v. To stir, as from a dormant or inactive condition; rouse: wake old animosities.
  • transitive v. To make aware of; alert: The shocking revelations finally woke me to the facts of the matter.
  • transitive v. To keep a vigil over.
  • transitive v. To hold a wake over.
  • n. A watch; a vigil.
  • n. A watch over the body of a deceased person before burial, sometimes accompanied by festivity. Also called regionally viewing.
  • n. Chiefly British A parish festival held annually, often in honor of a patron saint.
  • n. Chiefly British An annual vacation.
  • n. The visible track of turbulence left by something moving through water: the wake of a ship.
  • n. A track, course, or condition left behind something that has passed: The war left destruction and famine in its wake.
  • idiom in the wake of Following directly on.
  • idiom in the wake of In the aftermath of; as a consequence of.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A period after a person's death before the body is buried, in some cultures accompanied by a party.
  • n. The path left behind a ship on the surface of the water.
  • n. The turbulent air left behind a flying aircraft.
  • n. The area behind a moving object, typically a rapidly moving object.
  • n. A number of vultures assembled together.
  • v. (often followed by up) To stop sleeping.
  • v. (often followed by up) To make somebody stop sleeping.
  • v. to lay out a body prior to burial in order to allow family and friends to pay their last respects.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The track left by a vessel in the water; by extension, any track.
  • n. The act of waking, or being awaked; also, the state of being awake.
  • n. The state of forbearing sleep, especially for solemn or festive purposes; a vigil.
  • n.
  • n. An annual parish festival formerly held in commemoration of the dedication of a church. Originally, prayers were said on the evening preceding, and hymns were sung during the night, in the church; subsequently, these vigils were discontinued, and the day itself, often with succeeding days, was occupied in rural pastimes and exercises, attended by eating and drinking, often to excess.
  • n. The sitting up of persons with a dead body, often attended with a degree of festivity, chiefly among the Irish.
  • intransitive v. To be or to continue awake; to watch; not to sleep.
  • intransitive v. To sit up late festive purposes; to hold a night revel.
  • intransitive v. To be excited or roused from sleep; to awake; to be awakened; to cease to sleep; -- often with up.
  • intransitive v. To be exited or roused up; to be stirred up from a dormant, torpid, or inactive state; to be active.
  • transitive v. To rouse from sleep; to awake.
  • transitive v. To put in motion or action; to arouse; to excite.
  • transitive v. To bring to life again, as if from the sleep of death; to reanimate; to revive.
  • transitive v. To watch, or sit up with, at night, as a dead body.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To be awake; continue awake; refrain from sleeping.
  • To be excited or roused from sleep; cease to sleep; awake; be awakened: often followed by a redundant or intensive up.
  • To keep watch; watch while others sleep; keep vigil; especially, to watch a night with a corpse.
  • To be active; not to be quiescent.
  • To be excited from a torpid or inactive state, either physical or mental; be put in motion or action.
  • To hold a late revel; carouse late at night.
  • To return to life; be aroused from the sleep of death; live.
  • To rouse from sleep; awake; awaken: often followed by a redundant or intensive up.
  • To watch by night; keep vigil with or over; especially, to hold a wake over, as a corpse. See wake, n., 3.
  • To arouse; excite; put in motion or action: often with up.
  • To bring to life again, as if from the sleep of death; revive; reanimate.
  • To disturb; break.
  • n. The act of waking, or the state of being awake; the state of not sleeping.
  • n. The act of watching or keeping vigil, especially for a solemn or festive purpose; a vigil; specifically, an annual festival kept in commemoration of the completion and dedication of a parish church; hence, a merrymaking; a festive gathering.
  • n. An all-night watch by the body of the dead, before burial.
  • n. The track left by a ship or other moving object in the water.
  • n. Hence, a track of any kind; a course of any nature that has already been followed by another thing or person.
  • n. A row of damp green grass.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the consequences of an event (especially a catastrophic event)
  • v. make aware of
  • n. the wave that spreads behind a boat as it moves forward
  • n. a vigil held over a corpse the night before burial
  • v. arouse or excite feelings and passions
  • v. be awake, be alert, be there
  • v. stop sleeping
  • v. cause to become awake or conscious
  • n. an island in the western Pacific between Guam and Hawaii


Middle English wakien, waken, from Old English wacan, to wake up and wacian, to be awake, keep watch.
Possibly from Middle Low German, hole in the ice, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse vök.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English wacu. (Wiktionary)
Probably Middle Low German, from Old Norse vǫk ("a hole in the ice") ( > Danish våge, Icelandic vök). (Wiktionary)



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