In the wake, or aftermath, of a death, it’s traditional in many cultures to hold a wake, a vigil for the dead. There’s a third meaning of wake, too, you know: it’s the waves that a boat leaves behind as it slices through the water. And that’s not all…

Wake has three meanings as a noun, and, yes, just about as many meanings as a verb! So get set. To wake is come out of sleep, a verb you’ll recognize from “Wake up! You’re asleep at the wheel!” You can wake feelings, as well as the people who are having them. The wake before the funeral caused Mike to wake from his depression and decide to live life to the fullest. His first act was to water ski; he eventually mastered staying upright while crossing the wake of the boat that was towing him.

Definitions of wake
  1. verb

    stop sleeping

    woke up to the sound of the alarm clock”
    arouse, awake, awaken, come alive, wake up, waken
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    dope off, doze off, drift off, drop off, drowse off, fall asleep, flake out, nod off

    change from a waking to a sleeping state
    type of:

    change state, turn

    undergo a transformation or a change of position or action

  2. verb

    be awake, be alert, be there

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    catch some Z’s, kip, log Z’s, sleep, slumber

    be asleep

    sit up, stay up

    not go to bed

  3. verb

    cause to become awake or conscious

    wake me at 6 AM.”
    arouse, awaken, rouse, wake up, waken
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    cause to sleep

    make fall asleep

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    awaken once again
    bring around, bring back, bring round, bring to

    return to consciousness

    rouse somebody from sleep with a call
    resuscitate, revive

    cause to regain consciousness
    type of:

    alter, change, modify

    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

  4. verb

    make aware of

    “His words
    woke us to terrible facts of the situation”
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    type of:

    alarm, alert

    warn or arouse to a sense of danger or call to a state of preparedness

  5. verb

    arouse or excite feelings and passions

    fire up, heat, ignite, inflame, stir up
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    work up into agitation or excitement
    type of:

    arouse, elicit, enkindle, evoke, fire, kindle, pique, provoke, raise

    call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)

  6. noun

    the wave that spreads behind a boat as it moves forward

    “the motorboat’s
    wake capsized the canoe”
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    type of:

    moving ridge, wave

    one of a series of ridges that moves across the surface of a liquid (especially across a large body of water)

  7. noun

    the consequences of an event (especially a catastrophic event)

    “in the
    wake of the accident no one knew how many had been injured”
    aftermath, backwash
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    type of:

    consequence, effect, event, issue, outcome, result, upshot

    a phenomenon that follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon

  8. noun

    a vigil held over a corpse the night before burial

    “there’s no weeping at an Irish
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    type of:

    vigil, watch

    the rite of staying awake for devotional purposes (especially on the eve of a religious festival)

Word Family