Spanish word of the week: despertar

despertar VERB to wake up

Despertar means to wake … up, that is when you wake someone else up. In other words it’s transitive.

Despiértame a las ocho, mamá. Wake me up at eight, mom.

If you want to describe waking up of your own accord — in other words, the intransitive sense — you normally use the reflexive, despertarse:

Hoy me desperté muy temprano. Today I woke up very early.

Despertar also means to cause or arouse some kind of emotion, such as:

La propuesta despertó gran interés. The proposal aroused great interest.
Esta obra pretende despertar nuestra curiosidad. This work aims to arouse our curiosity.

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