Definition of drowse in English:



  • 1 Be half asleep; doze intermittently.

    ‘he was beginning to drowse in his chair’
    • ‘I fumbled around for soap, found it, and began washing my arms, eyes half closed as I drowsed in the warmth.’
    • ‘I meant to get up and insist on being allowed access to the radio, but somehow, I drowsed again.’
    • ‘Bemused, she observed that even the horses drowsed quite steadily.’
    • ‘Yet the fire still burned, the horses and mules still drowsed in their corner of the cave, and their three companions slept on, untouched by all that had happened.’
    • ‘Sinking into the large cushion on her armchair, she smiles slyly, as if just awakened from drowsing over the book shut on her lap.’
    • ‘A heavy or starchy lunch can also cause you to drowse in the afternoon.’
    • ‘It just wagged its tail at her and lay down in a patch of sunshine to drowse.’
    • ‘He was sitting in a low chair, shoes off and feet buried in the cool sand with his eyes half closed as he drowsed in the sun.’
    • ‘Several weeks after the sculptor finished his statue of Aphrodite drowsing, he sent a messenger to the model asking her to come and visit his hut again.’
    • ‘We did not stay very long, because I was coughing and sneezing, and drowsing, and jelly legged.’
    • ‘I checked to make sure the others still drowsed, and would have found myself relieved had Tristin not been missing.’
    • ‘He stood drowsing on one side of the fire, and she slept on the other.’
    • ‘The very first inning in the field, while I was safely drowsing in left field, fending off the midges, a long drive sailed over my head, heading for the outfield fence.’
    • ‘In 1963, while drowsing through a boring talk at a scientific meeting, Ulam had found himself doodling a grid of horizontal and vertical lines.’
    • ‘Incredibly, this stable, rural world still exists two hours south of Paris in the village of St. Brancher, where small farms lie on the hillsides, and cows drowse and forage.’
    • ‘I suppose you can drowse if you want, but don't move.’
    • ‘Fred gazed slowly at the greying wood buildings, the three or four patient horses drowsing at racks amid clouds of flies, the wagon outside a building labeled ‘Mercantile’ loaded with sacks of flour and sugar.’
    • ‘This is the consequence of peace and affluence: what matters most to the country matters least to the people, and the only way they can be persuaded is by using the same warm kind voice they heard as they drowsed in the cradle.’
    • ‘Nate hummed quietly to the radio and Ally drowsed on my chest.’
    • ‘While drowsing at his desk that evening over what one imagines to be a well-worn copy of Plato's Dialogues, he falls into a strange dream for which the famous parable of the cave provides the indifferent material.’
    doze, nap, take a nap, catnap, take a siesta, rest
    snooze, have a snooze, get forty winks, snatch forty winks, get some shut-eye
    kip, have a kip, get some kip
    catch some zs, catch a few zs
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    1. 1.1archaic [with object]Make sleepy.
      ‘any birds which the heat has not utterly drowsed’
      • ‘And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?’
      • ‘Despite what interest it might have spiked in me in the first place, it has now subdued to a simple regular lulling sound drowsing my mind.’
    2. 1.2archaic Be sluggish or inactive.
      ‘let not your prudence drowse’
      asleep, sleeping, slumbering, resting, reposing, drowsing, comatose, supine
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  • [in singular] A light sleep; a condition of being half asleep.

    ‘she awoke from a light drowse’
    • ‘That glow was almost too calming, for the visitors were lulled into a drowse, then as they sank downwards, a peaceful sleep.’
    • ‘I shook him, until he started to awaken out of his drowse.’
    doze, light sleep, nap, catnap, siesta, lie-down, rest
    snooze, forty winks, shut-eye
    kip, zizz
    View synonyms


Late 16th century: back-formation from drowsy.