Definition of asleep at the wheel in US English:

asleep at the wheel

(North American asleep at the switch)


  • Not attentive or alert.

    ‘let's hope the regulators are not asleep at the wheel’
    ‘someone must have been asleep at the switch to allow this’
    • ‘We've been asleep at the wheel for over forty years, folks.’
    • ‘As for extras, someone was asleep at the wheel on this disc.’
    • ‘Nor were our political leaders the only ones asleep at the switch.’
    • ‘The software giant has been quiet in the news business for some time, but don't assume the industry leader is asleep at the wheel.’
    • ‘We must have been asleep at the switch, and so we have to revamp our intelligence structure from the ground up.’
    lax, negligent, neglectful, remiss, careless, slapdash, slipshod, lackadaisical, lazy, inefficient, incompetent, inattentive, offhand, casual, disorderly, disorganized
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