- The definition of hearken is to listen carefully.
When you listen very carefully to advice given by your parents and you actually pay attention and consider what they are saying, this is an example of a time when you hearken.
Origin of hearkenMiddle English herknien ; from Old English heorknian, hyrcnian ; from base of hieran: see hear
intransitive verbhear·kened, hear·ken·ing, hear·kens also har·kened or har·ken·ing or har·kens
Origin of hearkenMiddle English herknen, from Old English hercnian; see kous- in Indo-European roots. Usage Note: Traditionally, hearken means “to listen.” The word has an archaic and formal air today, in part stemming from its extensively use in the King James Bible (as in Mark 7:14 “Hearken unto me, every one of you”) and in traditional storytelling. In contemporary usage, hearken is more often used where one might expect hark, no doubt because of sound similarity: The movie hearkens back to the sci-fi films of the 1950s. The Usage Panel has mixed feelings about this. In our 2009 survey, just 48 percent accepted this example.
(third-person singular simple present hearkens, present participle hearkening, simple past and past participle hearkened)
From Middle English hercnen, from Old English *heorcnian, suffixed form of an assumed *heorcian (cf. hark), from the same root as hȳran (whence hear), with a formative/intensive -k. Equivalent to hark + -en.