verb (used with or without object)
- to awake; waken.
- rousing; quickening: an awakening interest in ballet.
- the act of awaking from sleep.
- a revival of interest or attention.
- a recognition, realization, or coming into awareness of something: a rude awakening to the disagreeable facts.
- a renewal of interest in religion, especially in a community; a revival.
- the start of a feeling or awareness in a persona picture of an emotional awakening
Old English awæcnan (intransitive), “to spring into being, arise, originate,” also, less often, “to wake up;” earlier onwæcnan, from a- (1) “on” + wæcnan (see waken). Transitive meaning “to rouse from sleep” is recorded from 1510s; figurative sense of “to stir up, rouse to activity” is from c.1600.
Originally strong declension (past tense awoc, past participle awacen), already in Old English it was confused with awake (v.) and a weak past tense awæcnede (modern awakened) emerged and has since become the accepted form, with awoke and awoken transferred to awake. Subtle shades of distinction determine the use of awake or awaken in modern English. Related: Awakening.