Etymology
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wake (n.2)
"state of wakefulness," Old English -wacu (in nihtwacu "night watch"), related to watch (n.); and partly from Old Norse vaka "vigil, eve before a feast" (which is related to vaka "be awake" and cognate with Old High German wahta "watch, vigil," Middle Dutch wachten "to watch, guard"), from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively." Meaning "a sitting up at night with a corpse" is attested from early 15c. (the verb in this sense is recorded from mid-13c.; as a noun lichwake is from late 14c.). The custom largely survived as an Irish activity. Wakeman (c. 1200), which survives as a surname, was Middle English for "watchman."
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wake (v.)

"to become awake," a Middle English merger of Old English wacan "to become awake, arise, be born, originate," and Old English wacian "to be or remain awake," both from Proto-Germanic *wakjanan (source also of Old Saxon wakon, Old Norse vaka, Danish vaage, Old Frisian waka, Dutch waken, Old High German wahhen, German wachen "to be awake," Gothic wakan "to watch"), from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively."

Causative sense "to rouse from sleep" is attested from c. 1300. It has past tense woke, rarely waked (and that usually in the transitive sense) and past participle waked, rarely woke or woken. Related: Waking.

These usage guides for awake, awaken, wake, waken are distilled from those in Fowler and Century Dictionary:

1. Wake is the ordinary working verb; it alone has the sense "be or remain awake" (chiefly in waking).

2. Awake and awaken are chiefly used in figurative or transferred applications (A rude awakening).

3. Waken and awaken tend to be restricted to the transitive sense, awake being preferred in the senses related to arousing from actual sleep.

4. In the passive, awaken and waken are preferred, perhaps owing to uncertainty about the past participle of forms of awake and wake. (The colloquial 2010s use of woke in relation to political and social awareness is an exception.)

5. Up is commonly used with wake, but rarely with the others.

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wake (n.1)
"track left by a moving ship," 1540s, perhaps from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch wake "hole in the ice," from Old Norse vök, vaka "hole in the ice," from Proto-Germanic *wakwo. The sense perhaps evolved via "track made by a vessel through ice." Perhaps the English word is directly from Scandinavian. Figurative use (such as in the wake of "following close behind") is recorded from 1806.
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sun-wake (n.)
rays of the setting sun reflected on water, 1891, from sun (n.) + wake (n.). Sailors' tradition says a narrow wake means good weather the following day and bad weather follows a broad wake.
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wakeful (adj.)
c. 1400, "diligent," from wake (n.2) + -ful. Related: Wakefully; wakefulness.
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wake-up (n.)
something that brings one to alertness or out of sleep, 1965, often in the 1960s in reference to a shot of heroin in the morning. Phrase wake-up call is attested from 1968, originally a call one received from the hotel desk in the morning. Verbal phrase wake up is from 1530s; earlier the adverb was out (late 14c.)
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watch (v.)
Old English wæccan "keep watch, be awake," from Proto-Germanic *wakjan, from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively." Essentially the same word as Old English wacian "be or remain awake" (see wake (v.)); perhaps a Northumbrian form of it. Meaning "be vigilant" is from c. 1200. That of "to guard (someone or some place), stand guard" is late 14c. Sense of "to observe, keep under observance" is mid-15c. Related: Watched; watching.
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awaken (v.)

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 "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. For distinctions of usage, see wake (v.). Related: Awakening.

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waken (v.)

"to become awake, cease to sleep," Old English wæcnan, wæcnian "to rise, awake; spring from, come into being," from Proto-Germanic *waknanan, from a suffixed form of PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively." OED regards the ending as the -n- "suffix of inchoative verbs of state," but Barnhart rejects this and says it is simply -en (1).

The figurative sense was in Old English. Transitive sense of "to rouse (someone or something) from sleep" is recorded from c. 1200. For distinctions of usage, see wake (v.). Related: Wakened; wakening.

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