Open main menu



From Middle English bekenen, beknen, becnen, beknien, from Old English bēacnian, bēcnian, bīecnan (to signal; beckon), from Proto-Germanic *bauknōną, *bauknijaną (to signal), from *baukną (signal; beacon). Cognate with Old Saxon bōknian, Old High German bouhnen, Old Norse bákna. More at beacon.



beckon (third-person singular simple present beckons, present participle beckoning, simple past and past participle beckoned)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To wave or nod to somebody with the intention to make the person come closer.
    • Dryden
      His distant friends, he beckons near.
    • Shakespeare
      It beckons you to go away with it.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To seem attractive and inviting



beckon (plural beckons)

  1. A sign made without words; a beck.
    • Bolingbroke
      At the first beckon.
  2. A children's game similar to hide and seek in which children who have been "caught" may escape if they see another hider beckon to them.