from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To signal or summon, as by nodding or waving.
  • transitive v. To attract because of an inviting or enticing appearance: "a lovely, sunny country that seemed to beckon them on to the Emerald City” ( L. Frank Baum).
  • intransitive v. To make a signaling or summoning gesture.
  • intransitive v. To be inviting or enticing.
  • n. A gesture of summons.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To wave and/or to nod to somebody with the intention to make the person come closer.
  • n. A sign made without words; a beck.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sign made without words; a beck.
  • transitive v. To make a significant sign to; hence, to summon, as by a motion of the hand.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make a significant gesture with the head or hand, intended as a hint or an intimation, especially of a desire for approach or departure, or for silence.
  • To make a significant sign to; summon or direct by making signs.
  • n. A significant gesture: as, “at the first beckon,” Boling-broke, Parties.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. signal with the hands or nod
  • v. summon with a wave, nod, or some other gesture
  • v. appear inviting


Middle English bekenen, from Old English bīecnan, bēcnan; see bhā-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • to motion or call someone/ the teacher beckoned the student to her desk (Newbury House Dictionary)

    September 25, 2010