Harken — or Hearken

May 15th   2019

___ To harken is to listen attentively.

‘Tis also spelled “hearken.” “Harken” is the most used spelling in the United States; “Hearken” most common in British use. Both spellings are pronounced [HAR-kuhn].

Definitions via the Oxford English Dictionary online references include:
1. … To apply the ears to hear; to listen, give ear.
2. … To listen privily; to play the eavesdropper; to eavesdrop.
3. … To apply the mind to what is said; to attend, have regard; to listen with sympathy or docility.

Okay, now “harken” this: the 2nd definition above is listed as obsolete. However, it may still apply. Someone who “harkens” might be an eavesdropper, if they find the subject they stumble upon intriguing.

Usage examples
● Camille harkened her dad’s regaling the day he met her mother and fell in love, and she anticipated a man to do the same with her.
● Penny was organizing the back storeroom, unseen when her supervisor Mr. Walty entered the front office and made a phone call. She overheard him talk about plans to fire her, and she harkened, with disbelief, the reasons he gave.
● Oliver is a divorced father restricted to one week per month custody. He puts effort and care to persuade his children to harken his advice and guidance.
● As her son describes his plans to join the Peace Corps two years abroad, Valerie harkens with a lump in her throat.
David harkens his love’s desires.

What subjects inspire you to harken?


This Jacquée T. Writer in Residence featured Word is brought to you by supporting sponsors, including Dorothy’s House & Land of Oz in Liberal Kansas.

*** Jacquée T. selects and schedules each featured Word in the spirit of writing, reading, and of improved expression. Love for Words sponsors support her schedule and selection as a whole, and the and fun spirit of this series. Please check out the links to sponsor websites, one link provided per Word, and see how they may add quality to your day!

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