• (RP) IPA: /ˈhɑːk(ə)n/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈhɑɹkən/

hearken (hearkens, present participle hearkening; past and past participle hearkened)

  1. (transitive, archaic, except, poetic) To hear (something) with attention; to have regard#Noun|regard to (something).
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], part II (books IV–VI), London: Printed [by Richard Field] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 932900760 ↗, book IV, canto VII, stanza 33, page 103 ↗:
      Thenceforth ſhe paſt into his dreadfull den, / VVhere nought but darkeſome drerineſſe ſhe found, / Ne creature ſaw, but hearkned now and then / Some little whiſpering, and ſoft groaning ſound.
    • 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene ii], page 3 ↗, column 1:
      This King of Naples being an Enemy / To me inueterate, hearkens my Brothers ſuit, / Which was, That he in lieu o' th' premiſes, / Of homage, and I know not how much Tribute, / Should preſently extirpate me and mine / Out of the Dukedome, and confer faire Milane / With all the Honors, on my brother: [...]
    • 1832 December (indicated as 1833), Alfred Tennyson, “New Year’s Eve”, in Poems, London: Edward Moxon, […], OCLC 3944791 ↗, stanza X, page 99 ↗:
      Tho' I cannot speak a word, I shall hearken what ye say, / And be often—often with ye when ye think I'm faraway.
  2. (intransitive) To listen; to attend or give heed to what is uttered; to hear with attention, compliance, or obedience.
    • 1560, [William Whittingham et al., transl.], The Bible and Holy Scriptures Conteyned in the Olde and Newe Testament. […] (the Geneva Bible), Geneva: Printed by Rouland Hall, OCLC 557472409 ↗, Ecclesiasticus XXIIII:25, folio 433, verso ↗:
      Who ſo hearkeneth vnto me, ſhal not come to confuſion, & they that worke by me, ſhal not offende; [they that make me to be knowen, ſhal haue euerlaſting life.]
    • 1593, [William Shakespeare], Venvs and Adonis, London: Imprinted by Richard Field, […], OCLC 837166078 ↗, verse 145; Shakespeare’s Venvs & Adonis: […], 4th edition, London: J[oseph] M[alaby] Dent and Co. […], 1896, OCLC 19803734 ↗, lines 868–870, page 51 ↗:
      She hearkens for his hounds and for his horn: / Anon she hears them chant it lustily, / And all in haste she coasteth to the cry.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Genesis 3:17–Adam}} he [God ↗ ſaid, Becauſe thou hast hearkened vnto the voice of thy wife [ God of your fathers giueth you. ↗, column 1:
      Nowe therefore hearken, O Iſrael, vnto the Statutes, and vnto the Judgments which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may liue, and goe in and poſſeſſe the lande, which the {{smallcaps
    • 1697, “The Fourth Book of the {{w”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. […], London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 403869432 ↗, lines 690–693, page 143 ↗:
      Ev'n from the depths of Hell the Damn'd advance, / Th' Infernal Manſions nodding ſeem to dance; / The gaping three-mouth'd Dog forgets to ſnarl, / The Furies harken, and their Snakes uncurl.
    • 1827, [James Fenimore Cooper], chapter III, in The Prairie; a Tale. [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, Philadelphia, Pa.: Carey, Lea & Carey […], OCLC 982063220 ↗, page 48 ↗:
      If the advice of an old man is, then, worth hearkening to, children, you will quickly, go different ways to your places of shelter and safety.
    • 1832 December (indicated as 1833), Alfred Tennyson, “Œnone”, in Poems, London: Edward Moxon, […], OCLC 3944791 ↗, stanza II, page 52 ↗:
      O mother Ida, manyfountained Ida, / Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    • 1881–1882, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Sea Chest”, in Treasure Island, London; Paris: Cassell & Company, published 14 November 1883, OCLC 702939134 ↗, part I (The Old Buccaneer), page 29 ↗:
      We were not many minutes on the road, though we sometimes stopped to lay hold of each other and hearken. But there was no unusual sound—nothing but the low wash of the ripple and the croaking of the inmates of the wood.
    • 1942, William Faulkner, “The Bear”, in Go Down, Moses, New York, N.Y.: Random House, OCLC 749227801 ↗, section 5, page 326 ↗:
      [T]he mother who had shaped him if any had toward the man he almost was, [...] whom he had revered and harkened to and loved and lost and grieved: [...]
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To enquire; to seek information.
    • 1598–1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, Much Adoe about Nothing. […], quarto edition, London: Printed by V[alentine] S[immes] for Andrew Wise, and William Aspley, published 1600, OCLC 932921146 ↗, [Act V, scene ii] ↗:
      Claudio. Hearken after their offence my Lord. / Prince. Officers, what offence haue theſe men done?