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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ There was uncertainty in his voice, though, and later Theresa hearkened to this.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hearken \Heark"en\, v. t.

  1. To hear by listening. [Archaic]

    [She] hearkened now and then Some little whispering and soft groaning sound.

  2. To give heed to; to hear attentively. [Archaic]

    The King of Naples . . . hearkens my brother's suit.

    To hearken out, to search out. [Obs.]

    If you find none, you must hearken out a vein and buy.
    --B. Johnson.


Hearken \Heark"en\ (h[aum]rk"'n), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Hearkened (-'nd); p. pr. & vb. n. Hearkening.] [OE. hercnen, hercnien, AS. hercnian, heorcnian, fr. hi['e]ran, h[=y]ran, to hear; akin to OD. harcken, horcken, LG. harken, horken, G. horchen. See Hear, and cf. Hark.]

  1. To listen; to lend the ear; to attend to what is uttered; to give heed; to hear, in order to obey or comply.

    The Furies hearken, and their snakes uncurl.

    Hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you.
    --Deut. iv. 1.

  2. To inquire; to seek information. [Obs.] ``Hearken after their offense.''

    Syn: To attend; listen; hear; heed. See Attend, v. i.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English heorcnian, a suffixed form of *heorcian, root of hark; from Proto-Germanic *hausjan (see hear). Harken is the usual spelling in U.S. and probably is better justified by etymology; hearken likely is from influence of hear.


vb. 1 (context intransitive English) To listen; to attend or give heed to what is uttered; to hear with attention, obedience, or compliance. 2 (context transitive poetic English) To hear by listening. 3 (context transitive English) To hear with attention; to regard. 4 (context obsolete English) To enquire; to seek information.


v. listen; used mostly in the imperative [syn: hark, harken]

Usage examples of "hearken".

Deo juvante, Deo volente, ex visitatione Dei from depictions of the supreme god Jove in Roman mythology clutching bolts of lightning, hearkening back to prehistoric man cowering in terror from these flashes splitting the heavens with the voice of thunder to be placated, at any cost to reason, by fabricating privileged relations with the Deity as magic despaired and became religion.

And the poison of the old serpent, which infected Adam when he fell into his Transgression, by hearkening to the Tempter, has corrupted all mankind, and is a seed unto such diseases as this Infant is now laboring under.

Thou hearkenest to the petitions of those who are in their tombs, thou dispellest their helplessness and drivest away evil from them.

And, first, old Questioning himself was set to the bar for he was the receiver, the entertainer, and comforter of these doubters, that by nation were outlandish men: then he was bid to hearken to his charge, and was told that he had liberty to object, if he had ought to say for himself.

But come ye up the hall, That the ancient men may hearken: for methinks I have a word Of the battle of the Kindreds, and the harvest of the sword.

Francesca, with Spartan stoicism, continued to wear an ingratiating smile, though the character of the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear and will not hearken, seemed to her at that moment a beautiful one.

Hearken, amid the morning dew, Mary, a voice that calleth you,-- Then Mary turned her golden head, And lo!

Sir Nigel sat silent and distrait at his meal, while Alleyne hearkened to the clattering tongue of the Gascon, and to his talk of the glories of his own estate, his successes in love, and his triumphs in war.

I say, having hearkened to and perused the works of such-like pelting, paltry prosers and poets wherein sweep of sword and lunge o' lance is accompted of worthier repute than the penning of dainty distich and pretty poesies pleasingly passionate.

They are like animals and children, hearkening to the voice that first called them, following the habits first taught them, curiously stubborn in the errors grown habitual to them in youth, and with a strange tendency toward the lower, as though falling through the influence of a gravitation.

Thus hauing sayd, his sickely patientsDid gladly hearken to his graue beheast,And kept so well his wise commaundements,That in short space their malady was ceast,And eke the biting of that harmefull BeastWas throughly heal'd.

  He bemoans them, and, condoles their state with the Secretary, saying, ‘Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and that Mansoul had walked in my ways!

They to him hearken, as beseemeth meete,And passe on forward: so their way does ly,That one of those same Islands, which doe fleetIn the wide sea, they needes must passen by,Which seemd so sweet and pleasant to the eye,That it would tempt a man to touchen there:Vpon the banck they sitting did espyA daintie damzell, dressing of her heare,By whom a litle skippet floting did appeare.

Artists and cosmeticians are the last people who would ever bother to hearken patiently to the voice of Being.

Lone then by the stream he runneth, and wendeth the wild-wood road, And dasheth through the hazels of the Oselings' fair abode, And the Elking women know it, and their hearts are glad once more, And ye--yea, hearken, Wolfings, for his feet are at the door.