Suddenly he was standing on short springy turf, on a summer evening when the slanting rays of the sun gilded the ground. The landscape that he was looking at recurred so often in his dreams that he was never fully certain whether or not he had seen it in the real world. In his waking thoughts he called it the Golden Country

(George Orwell 1984)


What does the phrase 'waking thoughts' mean?

Link to the book (page #21)

  • 5
    You were a bit quick to accept that answer... ell.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1307/…
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 8, 2017 at 9:36
  • 1
    This question is getting into a bit of a mess. Please don't ask multiple questions in a single post! Apr 8, 2017 at 14:49
  • @FumbleFingers I accidently saved editing of a wrong question, so it wasn't in purpose
    – Max
    Apr 8, 2017 at 14:55
  • 1
    I'll just point out that I can't find a single instance of Take your time by me in the whole of Google Books that isn't a direct quote from 1984. But there are several hundred instances of Take your time from me, which would be my choice of preposition. The meaning is the same though - Look/listen to me to establish the rhythm / beat / pace. Apr 8, 2017 at 14:59
  • 1
    I know - I'm just pointing out that Orwell's preposition usage there is not what people would usually say. Apr 8, 2017 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


The Cambridge Dictionary provides different definitions of waking as a noun and as an adjective. The noun meaning relates to the moment of waking. In this context, the word is used as an adjective, and so the adjectival definition is relevant: used to refer to a period of time or an experience during which you are awake.

According to this definition, waking means marked by full consciousness, awareness, and alertness. To quote further from the link:

This adjective most often occurs in phrases such as “every waking moment", “every waking hour", “every waking breath", and so on, the sense being roughly “at all times". Such phrases are often used together with possessives, such as in “her every waking moment" or “my every waking thought".

So, waking thoughts refers to anything that you think about when you are not asleep.

The expression can be used to describe what you are always thinking about: this might be relevant in this context, but it is more likely to simply be a contrast with the reference earlier in the paragraph to in his dreams.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .