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.

Primary Meanings of wake

stop sleeping
the wave that spreads behind a boat as it moves forward
a vigil held over a corpse the night before burial
Full Definitions of wake

v stop sleeping

“She woke up to the sound of the alarm clock”
arouse, awake, awaken, come alive, wake up, waken
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

v be awake, be alert, be there

catch some Z's, kip, log Z's, sleep, slumber
be asleep
sit up, stay up
not go to bed

v cause to become awake or conscious

“Please wake me at 6 AM.”
arouse, awaken, rouse, wake up, waken
cause to sleep
make fall asleep
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
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

v make aware of

“His words woke us to terrible facts of the situation”
Type of:
alarm, alert
warn or arouse to a sense of danger or call to a state of preparedness

v arouse or excite feelings and passions

fire up, heat, ignite, inflame, stir up
work up into agitation or excitement
Type of:
arouse, elicit, enkindle, evoke, fire, kindle, provoke, raise
call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)

n the wave that spreads behind a boat as it moves forward

“the motorboat's wake capsized the canoe”
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)

n 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
Type of:
consequence, effect, event, issue, outcome, result, upshot
a phenomenon that follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon

n a vigil held over a corpse the night before burial

“there's no weeping at an Irish wake
Type of:
vigil, watch
the rite of staying awake for devotional purposes (especially on the eve of a religious festival)

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