Word of the Day: wake

Word of the Day
August 5, 2016
wake (verb, noun)
/weɪk/  sound icon
 
 
To wake means, as you probably already know, 'to stop sleeping' or 'to make someone stop sleeping,' and it also means 'to become aware of something.' These meanings are often followed by the preposition up. It also means 'to cause to come to life.' As a noun, a wake is a vigil by a dead body before the burial. A wake is also the track of waves left by a boat when sailing and, figuratively, the path of something that has passed or gone by.

 

Example sentences
 
I always wake up early.
The noise woke everyone in the street.
You need to wake up to what's happening here!
Frankenstein used lightning to wake his monster.
In some religions, it is traditional to hold a wake before a body is buried.
Emily stood at the stern of the boat, watching the wake stretch out across the water.
The typhoon tore through the town, leaving a trail of damage in its wake.

 

Multi-word forms
 
in the wake of: following, as a result of. Example: "In the wake of recent events, the company directors have decided to draw up a new business plan."
 
Did you know?
 
You quite often hear the expression wake up and smell the coffee on TV shows and in movies. It is a humorous way of telling someone you think they are being naive. Example: "You think your boss is going to give you a promotion? Wake up and smell the coffee! She's just using your work to make herself look good."
 
Origin
 
Wake, as a verb, dates back to before the year 900. Middle English combined the Old English verbs wacan (to wake) and wacian (to stay awake) into waken. In the sense of 'waking someone,' Middle English originally used the verb wecchen, from the Old English weccan, but this verb soon disappeared and waken absorbed the meaning. All these origin words come from the Proto-Germanic *waken, which is also the source of the Old Saxon wakon, the Old Norse vaka, the Danish vaage, the Dutch waken, the Old Frisian wakia, and the German wachen, which all mean 'to be awake,' and of the Gothic wakan, meaning 'to watch.' The noun, meaning 'a state of wakefulness,' is also very old, and can be traced back to the Old English –wacu, which has only been found in compound words like nihtwacu ('nightwatch'), and is related to watch. It is thought to come from the Old Norse vaka, meaning 'vigil, eve before a feast,' and is related to the Latin vigil. The meaning of 'sitting up all night with a corpse first appeared in the 15th century (though it was used this way as a verb, which is rare today, since the late 12th century). The first recorded use of wake meaning 'the trail left by a moving ship' was in the mid-16th century, and could have been adopted from German or Scandinavian languages. The figurative meaning derived from this sense appeared in the early 19th century.
 
 
 
 
 
Wake in other languages
 
 
 
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