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to signal, summon, or direct by a gesture of the head or hand.
to lure; entice.
a nod, gesture, etc., that signals, directs, summons, indicates agreement, or the like.
Contemporary Examples

When anarchy seems to beckon, Libya pulls back from the brink.
One Year Later, Libya’s Long Road Continues Jamie Dettmer October 21, 2012

The firemen confer with the organizers and then beckon them toward the front of the bus.
On the Road With Kesey’s (Drug-Free) Acid Test Nina Strochlic August 26, 2014

Historical Examples

Mr. O’Carroll, without answering by voice, gave a grotesque sort of signal between a wink and a beckon.
Devereux, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Squalor and tragedy can beckon to all that is great in us, and strengthen the wings of love.
Howards End E. M. Forster

Alice exclaimed, as she noticed Mr. Pertell beckon Captain Brisco to him.
The Moving Picture Girls at Sea Laura Lee Hope

They can beckon; it is not certain that they will, for they are not love’s servants.
Howards End E. M. Forster

Hugh glanced toward his father’s door, whence at any moment, as every one realized, the actor might beckon.
Gideon’s Band George W. Cable

He took a step toward her, and the rippling scarf seemed to beckon him on.
The Prisoner Alice Brown

She knows she can summon an adorer by one beckon of her fan, and dismiss him by another.
Modern Women and What is Said of Them Anonymous

The leader will then repeat louder, or beckon to the scout to come in nearer.
Boy Scouts Handbook Boy Scouts of America

to summon with a gesture of the hand or head
to entice or lure
a summoning gesture

Old English gebecnian (West Saxon beacnian) “to make a mute sign,” derivative of beacen “a sign, beacon,” from Proto-Germanic *bauknjan (cf. Old Saxon boknian, Old High German bouhnen), from PIE root *bha- “to shine” (see beacon). Related: Beckoned; beckoning. The noun is attested from 1718, from the verb.


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