1. To be or to continue awake; to watch; not to sleep. "The father waketh for the daughter." (Ecclus. Xlii. 9) "Though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps." (Milton) "I can not think any time, waking or sleeping, without being sensible of it." (Locke)
4. To be exited or roused up; to be stirred up from a dormant, torpid, or inactive state; to be active. "Gentle airs due at their hour To fan the earth now waked." (Milton) "Then wake, my soul, to high desires." (Keble)
Origin: AS. Wacan, wacian; akin to OFries. Waka, OS. Wakn, D. Waken, G. Wachen, OHG. Wahhn, Icel. Vaka, Sw. Vaken, Dan. Vaage, Goth. Wakan, v. I, uswakjan, v. T, Skr. Vajay to rouse, to impel. Cf. Vigil, Wait, Watch.
2. The state of forbearing sleep, especially for solemn or festive purposes; a vigil. "The warlike wakes continued all the night, And funeral games played at new returning light." (Dryden) "The wood nymphs, decked with daises trim, Their merry wakes and pastimes keep." (Milton)
3. <engineering> Specifically: 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. "Great solemnities were made in all churches, and great fairs and wakes throughout all England." (Ld. Berners) "And every village smokes at wakes with lusty cheer." (Drayton)
The sitting up of persons with a dead body, often attended with a degree of festivity, chiefly among the Irish. "Blithe as shepherd at a wake." Wake play, the ceremonies and pastimes connected with a wake. See Wake, 3, above.
(01 Mar 1998)
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