"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.
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.
It forms all or part of: awake; bewitch; bivouac; invigilate; reveille; surveillance; vedette; vegetable; velocity; vigil; vigilant; vigilante; vigor; waft; wait; wake (v.) "emerge or arise from sleep;" waken; watch; Wicca; wicked; witch.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit vajah "force, strength," vajayati "drives on;" Latin vigil "watchful, awake," vigere "be lively, thrive," velox "fast, lively," vegere "to enliven," vigor "liveliness, activity;" Old English wacan "to become awake," German wachen "to be awake," Gothic wakan "to watch."
"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.
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.
mid-15c., rousen, intransitive, probably from Anglo-French or Old French reuser, ruser; Middle English Compendium compares 16c. French rousee "abrupt movement." Sometimes also said to be from Latin recusare "refuse, decline," with loss of the medial -c-. Originally in English a technical term in hawking, "to shaking the feathers of the body," but like many medieval hawking and hunting terms it is of obscure origin.
The sense of "cause game to rise from cover or lair" is from 1520s. The word became general from 16c. in the figurative, transitive, meaning "stir up, cause to start up by noise or clamor, provoke to activity; waken from torpor or inaction" (1580s); that of "to awaken, cause to start from slumber or repose" is recorded by 1590s. Related: Roused; rousing.