1. a simple past tense of wake.
adjective, Slang. (often used in the phrase stay woke)
2. actively aware of systemic injustices and prejudices, especially those related to civil and human rights: In light of recent incidents of police brutality, it’s important to stay woke. He took one African American history class and now he thinks he’s woke.
3. aware of the facts, true situation, etc. (sometimes used facetiously): The moon landing was staged. Stay woke! A tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable. Stay woke.
4. awake: I had to drink lots of coffee this morning to stay woke.
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Origin: before 900; (v.) in sense “to become awake” continuing Middle English waken, Old English *wacan (found only in past tense wōc and the compounds onwacan, āwacan to become awake; see awake (v.)); in sense “to be awake” continuing Middle English waken, Old English wacian (cognate with Old Frisian wakia, Old Saxon wakōn, Old Norse vaka, Gothic wakan); in sense “to rouse from sleep” continuing Middle English waken, replacing Middle English wecchen, Old English weccan, probably altered by association with the other senses and with the k of Old Norse vaka; (noun) Middle English: state of wakefulness, vigil (late Middle English: vigil over a dead body), probably continuing Old English *wacu (found only in nihtwacu night-watch); all ultimately < Germanic *wak- be lively; akin to watch, vegetable, vigil
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