Definition of sleep in English:



  • 1A condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.

    ‘I was on the verge of sleep’
    [in singular] ‘a good night's sleep’
    • ‘For most people a night or two of poor sleep, or even a night of no sleep, isn't that bad.’
    • ‘I fell into a fitful, restless sleep, one that was preoccupied with thoughts of him.’
    • ‘All she remembered was pulling the covers over herself and dropping off into an exhausted yet restless sleep.’
    • ‘I got very little sleep for several days and put in a lot of hard labor.’
    • ‘He rolled over completely, pressed his face into the soft pillow, and allowed the stillness of sleep to take over.’
    • ‘The apnea index is the number of apneic events occurring each hour averaged over all hours of sleep and for all body positions.’
    • ‘Older children and young adults through their 30s need seven to nine hours of sleep each night.’
    • ‘Is there anything else that might allow me at least three hours of continuous sleep at night?’
    • ‘And each morning my peaceful sleep was interrupted by the most irritating and annoying ringing sound imaginable.’
    • ‘Based on the results of this study, seven hours of sleep per night seems optimal for longer life.’
    • ‘Adequate, restful sleep is important to everyone, regardless of age.’
    • ‘Together we drift off into a much needed sleep, both comfortable and content.’
    • ‘Among these last six patients, four were obese and had obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.’
    • ‘It was associated with excessive sleepiness in those averaging less than 7 hours of sleep per night.’
    • ‘She fell into a fitful, dreamless sleep.’
    • ‘The number of hours of sleep per night and any symptoms are recorded in the nursing notes.’
    • ‘As they get older they may need only nine or ten hours of sleep at night, but it varies just as it does for adults.’
    • ‘Sure, they make it sound like a cool thing with the promise of an extra hour of sleep Saturday night.’
    • ‘The authors conclude that controlled crying reduced infant sleep disorders and benefited depressed mothers.’
    • ‘The average American gets between six and seven hours of sleep a night during the week.’
    • ‘People differ in their need for sleep, and everyone has the occasional night of disturbed sleep.’
    nap, doze, rest, siesta, drowse, catnap
    beauty sleep
    snooze, forty winks, a bit of shut-eye, power nap
    kip, zizz
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1literary A state compared to or resembling sleep, such as death or complete silence or stillness.
      ‘a photograph of the poet in his last sleep’
      • ‘I was comforted by the thought of the blissful non-dreaming sleep of death but I could no longer believe in that.’
      • ‘He is not an overly religious man and maintains that there is no after life, that death is a long sleep.’
      • ‘The pair would die a most easy of deaths, a drowsy sleep to never wake from.’
      • ‘After all isn't death just the deepest sleep imaginable - the kind of sleep which calms all pain and ends all sadness?’
      • ‘The only peace that is going to last, for millions of men, is the peace they will get in the sleep of death.’
  • 2A gummy or gritty secretion found in the corners of the eyes after sleep.

    ‘she sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes’
    • ‘She rolled to face the door, rubbing sleep from her eyes with one loose fist.’
    • ‘Keelah finally gave up, and went along with her friends, rubbing sleep from her weary eyes.’
    • ‘He wipes at his eye, rubbing sleep crumbs from his eyelashes and shrugs sleepily.’
    • ‘He blinked, rubbing sleep from his eyes as he looked at each of us.’
    • ‘Shay turned the corner rubbing the sleep from her slightly swollen eyes.’
    • ‘Immediately, the chief appeared at the palisades, rubbing sleep from his eyes, but still awake enough to raise the alarm.’
    • ‘Lisa ruffled Charlie's hair as she wandered past, rubbing sleep from her eyes.’
    • ‘I slowly put my head into my arms on my desk as sleep creeps into the corners of my eyes.’
    • ‘I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, sat up, and looked around.’
    • ‘Diego rose from that bed of his, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.’
    • ‘Not as frightened but still concerned, you walk to the bathroom, rubbing sleep from your eyes.’
    • ‘It was the same for several human villagers who exited shabby tents, rubbing sleep from their eyes.’


  • 1Rest by sleeping; be asleep.

    ‘she slept for half an hour’
    ‘he looked at the sleeping child’
    • ‘Addicts stop eating, stop sleeping and start hallucinating badly.’
    • ‘I must have slept badly and was shrouded in a mist of tiredness that, by rights, should have been long gone.’
    • ‘I found myself alone, my friends sleeping to restore their exhausted souls.’
    • ‘Cloaked in a blanket of muted late-shows, he sleeps alone on the couch now.’
    • ‘If the tide is out, there are usually half a dozen seals sleeping on the rocks, and we just sit there and watch.’
    • ‘I forgot to tell you about Tom, who was the only son and had to sleep on the half loft above the kitchen.’
    • ‘I was very tired after the game, having slept badly all week due to the adrenalin of doing gigs or nerves at the upcoming poker.’
    • ‘Raymond told how he slept alone in a old stone granary that was infested with rats during the winter in preparation for the programme.’
    • ‘I am one of those people who, when sleeping alone, always awakes with a book on his chest.’
    • ‘He asked her to leave him alone and let him sleep, she said.’
    • ‘Every child is different and just because yours prefers sleeping alone in his crib does not mean that every child will prefer that.’
    • ‘He will not sleep alone and it breaks my heart to see him so frightened.’
    • ‘She sleeps badly, and worries constantly about her future.’
    • ‘I usually didn't wear a shirt to bed when I slept alone, at home.’
    • ‘Having slept for half the day on Sunday, I can't fall asleep at night.’
    • ‘Not sleeping had become a constant agitation - and the more he worried about it, the worse he slept.’
    • ‘Half are unable to sleep due to depression and anxiety.’
    • ‘I pretended to sleep for half an hour, then got up and made myself some tea.’
    • ‘How could someone so cruel and unforgiving sleep like an innocent child, wrapped up in a mother's arms?’
    • ‘I was worried that I might not have handled it very well and slept badly.’
    be asleep, doze, rest, take a siesta, nap, take a nap, catnap, drowse
    sleep like a log, sleep like a top
    snooze, snatch forty winks, get some shut-eye, be in the land of nod
    kip, have a kip, get one's head down, zizz, get some zizz
    catch some zs
    slumber, be in the arms of morpheus
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1sleep through Fail to be woken by.
      ‘he was so tired he slept through the alarm’
    2. 1.2 Be inactive or dormant.
      ‘Copenhagen likes to be known as the city that never sleeps’
      • ‘This is a city that rarely sleeps, that never seems to rest in its quest for pleasure, in its endeavour at enterprise, in its inherent divinity.’
      • ‘The sleeping giant is waking up - and not a moment too soon.’
      • ‘But women's issues may be the sleeping giant of American politics these days.’
      • ‘The prayer centre in Didsbury opened today welcoming Christians aged 16 to 30 who want to worship when the rest of the city sleeps.’
      • ‘As if we had new language, new tactics, new ways of communicating that could waken the dormant dissent and the sleeping visions in every heart.’
      • ‘All this talk of the 70's has obviously woken a sleeping giant within.’
      • ‘As the Japanese economy stops shrinking in nominal terms, a domestic demand-led recovery could reawaken this sleeping giant.’
      • ‘No wonder councillor John Lynch, convener of cultural and leisure services, dubbed it ‘the sleeping giant of British museums’.’
      • ‘Roe helped to wake the sleeping giant of fundamentalist and evangelical southern white Protestant politics.’
      • ‘The ego that actually does the writing, the sleeping self, is buried so deep that he's not affected by anything that happens in the real world.’
      • ‘They were at their twinkling best, refusing to let the city sleep.’
      • ‘Tourism as has been noticed is a sleeping giant.’
      • ‘Alas, the ads were kind of a cheat - by the time Jason finally reached the city that never sleeps, the movie was nearly 3/4 over.’
      • ‘Could this sleeping giant, if awakened, play a role in the revival of labor unions and progressive politics?’
      • ‘With all these measures in place, all that the country needs is to work hard to develop Zambia's rural areas - the sleeping giants.’
      • ‘The sleeping giants of the competition could well be Byron Bay.’
    3. 1.3literary Be at peace in death; lie buried.
      ‘he sleeps beneath the silver birches’
      • ‘Bede the priest sleeps eternally.’
      • ‘One who "sleeps the eternal slumber" lives in the heart.’
  • 2[with object] Provide (a specified number of people) with beds, rooms, or places to stay the night.

    ‘studios sleeping two people cost $70 a night’
    • ‘The hotel sleeps over 100 guests, and every bedroom is unique.’
    • ‘The Norman Rockwell Room sleeps 4 with one double\full bed and two single beds.’
    • ‘The package said sleeps six, but I say more comfortably 4 or 5 people.’
  • 3[with adverbial] Have sexual intercourse or be involved in a sexual relationship.

    ‘I won't sleep with a man who doesn't respect me’
    • ‘However, it might not be surprising to find out that one of those guys thought we were more exclusive just because we were sleeping together.’
    • ‘I made it clear that I would like to sleep with her, but she was hesitant.’
    • ‘And, well, we've also been sleeping together off and on, when neither of us are dating anyone else, for the past five years.’
    • ‘All I wanted was to stay friends and to get on with my life (which I couldn't do when we kept sleeping together).’
    • ‘Well, gosh, I mean, everybody knows the guy's been sleeping with half of Hollywood for the past five years.’
    • ‘Making a long story very short, we ended up sleeping together.’
    • ‘He didn't say anything about his sexuality, but of course, we who hoped to sleep with him all speculated.’
    • ‘An older, gorgeous married man wanting to sleep with you can seem like a fabulous compliment and ego boost.’
    • ‘Women who sleep with men who have slept with other men only have to wait 12 months to donate blood.’
    • ‘That's why I know I don't have to sleep with my future wife to find out if we're sexually compatible.’
    • ‘Just because I sleep with the same sex does not mean I cannot serve my country.’
    • ‘Noel and Ruby complicate their relationship even further by sleeping together.’
    • ‘While you're there, don't sleep with her and don't behave like her boyfriend.’
    • ‘Between you and your brother you've slept with half the state!’
    • ‘You're a beautiful, sexy woman, and if you want to sleep with men and women, I have no judgment about that.’
    • ‘Lots of girls pretend to be sexually open but still think that if they sleep with someone then there should be a relationship.’
    • ‘But she had been really mad at me for not being willing to sleep with her.’
    • ‘It is unloving to yourself to sleep with a man early in the relationship and then run the risk of being dumped because all he wanted was sex.’
    • ‘All across the school we were known for everything from sleeping together to modeling in nude photos.’
    • ‘I know he's turned down lots of other girls, so for him to feel ready to sleep with me, only me, really says a lot for his feelings.’


  • one could do something in one's sleep

    • informal One regards something as so easy that it will require no effort or conscious thought to accomplish.

      ‘she knew the music perfectly, could sing it in her sleep’
      • ‘The company's line is so practised that they can recite it in their sleep: more jobs, more choice - and what's more, shoppers want it.’
      • ‘Listening to the arguments for pornography is like listening to the refrain of a song one can sing in one's sleep.’
      • ‘You could recite stopping distances and road signs in your sleep.’
      • ‘Do this until you feel so comfy with every note you could sing the tune in your sleep.’
      • ‘By now, they can probably give them in their sleep.’
      • ‘The ability to execute simple skills at the highest level at pace was absent, whereas the All Blacks seemed to be able to do it in their sleep.’
      • ‘The instructions in issue 10 are spare, intended for Craftsman-level builders who frame walls in their sleep.’
      • ‘By this stage, you could build a movie in your sleep.’
      • ‘But when you've been at this (the record business) as long as me, you can think in your sleep.’
      • ‘They could do it in their sleep, which some of them looked very near.’
  • get to sleep

    • Manage to fall asleep.

      • ‘Most of the group managed to get to sleep, except for a girl that just stared at the moon.’
      • ‘Just as I start thinking about trying to get to sleep, I drop off.’
      • ‘‘I usually don't have troubles getting to sleep and fall asleep quite quickly but it's not unusual that I wake up in the middle of the night,’ said Mrs Snelgrove.’
      • ‘At home I finally managed to get to sleep for a while but I was awake again at eight.’
      • ‘I tactfully informed her I had at long last managed to get to sleep and her call had woken me.’
      • ‘After some passionate kissing they cuddled up and managed to get to sleep.’
      • ‘She didn't remember how long it took her to get to sleep or even falling asleep.’
      • ‘For those people, the reason for less sleep is not that they have trouble sleeping rather they have trouble getting to sleep.’
      • ‘She tucked the letter back in the journal, and crawled into bed, and managed to get to sleep.’
      • ‘According to one study, 97 per cent of pregnant women have difficulties getting to sleep or staying asleep.’
  • go to sleep

    • 1Fall asleep.

      • ‘Stretching his cramped muscles, Carson had just resolved to go to sleep himself when his eyes fell on the connector door.’
      • ‘I told her to go to sleep then, and we both fell asleep until Mark came in asking her for money for his cab.’
      • ‘Slowly he drifted off into unconsciousness, until finally he went to sleep altogether.’
      • ‘I'd changed into a baggy t-shirt and shorts of Trevor's and went to sleep just after he'd fallen asleep.’
      • ‘I crashed into bed and went to sleep thinking of him and how good he smelled.’
      • ‘Dusk had fallen once we reached the cave, so we went to sleep without the presence of thieves.’
      • ‘She fell on her bed and was about to go to sleep when a knock came on the door.’
      • ‘She dropped down in the sand and went to sleep, too worn out from the chase.’
      • ‘Sometimes a child will only go to sleep if a parent is there, fall asleep downstairs, or want to go to bed at the same time as his parents.’
      • ‘She went to bed in her work clothes and even delayed going to sleep until she believed he was asleep.’
      fall asleep, get to sleep
      drop off, nod off, go off, drift off, crash out, go out like a light, flake out, conk out
      sack out, zone out
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1(of a limb) become numb as a result of prolonged pressure.
        • ‘You know the feeling when your foot or leg "goes to sleep" if you cross your legs to long?’
        • ‘I tend to sleep on my side with my arm curled up under the pillow, and yes, it goes to sleep!’
        • ‘It's a very odd sensation, simply not being able to focus one's mind; the mental equivalent of waking up and realizing your arm has gone to sleep and you can't feel or move it.’
        • ‘It was five o'clock in the morning, and her first thought was that the lifeless arm had gone to sleep.’
  • let sleeping dogs lie

    • Avoid interfering in a situation that is currently causing no problems but might do so as a result of such interference.

      • ‘But then maybe it's best to let sleeping dogs lie.’
      • ‘I'll let sleeping dogs lie for a bit on that front.’
      • ‘And God also seems to have the highest expectations of us, not settling for second-best or letting sleeping dogs lie.’
      • ‘The most bankrupt excuse is that these events took place a long time ago, eyewitness accounts may differ, and it is best to let sleeping dogs lie.’
      • ‘So the Labor party is merely going along with the masses by letting sleeping dogs lie.’
      • ‘I think it would have been better to let sleeping dogs lie.’
      • ‘Somebody sent me an email that said this was all the fault of the U.S. because ‘we should have let sleeping dogs lie.’’
      • ‘Maybe I would end up wishing I had let sleeping dogs lie.’
      • ‘I will let sleeping dogs lie and wish the man all the best in the world.’
      • ‘But ages ago, he had learned to let sleeping dogs lie, so he wouldn't disturb the peace between his eldest and youngest.’
  • lose sleep

    • [usually with negative]Worry about something.

      ‘no one is losing any sleep over what he thinks of us’
      • ‘It's a brave move and I must admit I have lost sleep over it.’
      • ‘The Pope, who aides say is losing sleep over the possibility of war, celebrated a Mass that began with a stiff wind blowing in from Siberia over the flat steppes and ended in sunshine.’
      • ‘But people now losing sleep over looming crime should control the urge to adopt desperate devices, which may also cause them to lose friends.’
      • ‘I struggled with this and even lost sleep over it.’
      • ‘The owner says he has avoided layoffs, but he's losing sleep.’
      • ‘He lost sleep trying to find the right tone, but shedding the classical acting style helped.’
      • ‘True, from time to time, feelings will be hurt in these discussions, but why lose sleep worrying about the self-esteem problems of politicians?’
      • ‘When she was five, I lost sleep over sending her to kindergarten.’
      • ‘The worst thing that the civilised world lost sleep over was the impending Millennium.’
      • ‘It is not something I lose sleep worrying about.’
      fret, be worried, be concerned, be anxious, agonize, brood, dwell on, panic, get in a panic, lose sleep, get worked up, get in a fluster, get overwrought, be on tenterhooks
      View synonyms
  • put someone to sleep

    • 1Make someone unconscious by the use of drugs, alcohol, or an anesthetic.

      • ‘A general anaesthetic is most commonly used, which means that you will be put to sleep for the operation.’
      • ‘For other major surgery, you'll often need general anesthesia, which puts you to sleep.’
      • ‘Before the Finnish anaesthetist put him to sleep, an Australian nurse asked an Ethiopian translator to find out if the farmer had any questions.’
      • ‘I was given some drugs but they only put me to sleep.’
      • ‘For little children, it may be necessary to put them to sleep (general anesthetic) so that they don't move when radiation doses are given.’
      • ‘Sedative gases and drugs relieve anxiety and cause temporary relaxation without putting you to sleep.’
      • ‘She vividly remembers the doctor coming one day when she was four or five, putting her to sleep with anaesthetic and ‘straightening my feet.’’
      • ‘I would like to give her medication myself that would put her to sleep.’
      • ‘Freyen thought the alcohol had put him to sleep.’
      • ‘We are going to give him some drugs to put him to sleep.’
      1. 1.1Bore someone greatly.
        • ‘In the middle of a lecture, a student stands up and says, ‘We're not paying you to read to us and put us to sleep!’’
        • ‘And since this is the kind of basic knowledge that every school kid should know, the text refrains from being so dry that it sends you to sleep.’
        • ‘I mean, broadly speaking there's a plan not to drive readers off screaming or send them to sleep.’
        • ‘I mean, it's not as if I'm after a film with car chases (Gillian reckoned there weren't any in this film) but I want something reasonably intelligent without being something that would send me to sleep.’
        • ‘All I need to do is familiarise myself with the basic rules of the game and develop the merest hint of a passing interest in a game which never fails to send me to sleep…’
        • ‘The dreadful dullness of the Executive would be more apparent if the Party had not selected a leader who was supposed to soothe voters' fear of independence but has ended up sending them to sleep instead.’
        • ‘I started counting sheep, which didn't send me to sleep but reminded me of what I wanted to write to you about.’
        • ‘The priest was incredibly boring and practically sent me to sleep with his sermon.’
        • ‘But this wine from South East Australia is dull enough to send you to sleep.’
        • ‘Sometimes during the day, when we are rehearsing, the scripts can send me to sleep.’
        be tedious to, pall on, stultify, stupefy, weary, tire, fatigue, send to sleep, exhaust, wear out, leave cold
        View synonyms
  • put something to sleep

    • 1Kill an animal, especially an old, sick, or badly injured one, painlessly (used euphemistically)

      • ‘Even when it involves visiting farms, making house calls or putting a terminally-ill animal to sleep, ‘it's what we are there for’.’
      • ‘She had been given the dogs by a pet shop who said that if she couldn't find a home for them, to put them to sleep.’
      • ‘There have been rumours that we put animals to sleep once we cannot house them.’
      • ‘Okay, I know with an animal they put them to sleep if they are suffering.’
      • ‘In it she claimed that she had ‘found a cure for things the vet put your animal to sleep for.’’
      • ‘To say categorically that it is crueler to put any cat to sleep rather than send it outdoors is a rash overgeneralization.’
      • ‘Sixteen animals were put to sleep because of their injuries, and three animals were believed to be the victims of deliberate attacks.’
      • ‘It can be very distressing to put an animal to sleep when it bounds into the room wagging its tail.’
      • ‘My Mother half-heartedly thought about putting both dogs to sleep at the same time to save the male dog the pain, but knows she can't very well put down a completely healthy dog!’
      • ‘‘Unfortunately the arrow had hit the small intestine of the animal and the vet decided to put it to sleep,’ he said.’
      put down, destroy, put out of its misery
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Put a computer on standby while it is not being used, especially in order to reduce power consumption.
        • ‘And with that, Tony left the room and put his computer to sleep.’
        • ‘Consequently, interrupt context cannot perform certain actions that can result in the kernel putting the current context to sleep, such as downing a semaphore, copying to or from user-space memory or non-atomically allocating memory.’
        • ‘Nathaniel put his computer to sleep, and then I followed him downstairs.’
        • ‘This function puts the process to sleep until timeout jiffies have elapsed. Jiffies is a kernel variable that is incremented for every timer interrupt.’
        • ‘To save power, each of these units can be put to sleep when not in use.’
        • ‘Conversely, since they have the overhead of putting a task to sleep and subsequently waking it up, they should not be used where the lock-held time is short.’
        • ‘And the thing I'm most guilty of is being bored online, but staying online and doing useless things instead of turning my computer off (or at least putting it to sleep) and doing some schoolwork.’
  • sleep easy

  • sleep like a log (or top)

    • Sleep very soundly.

      • ‘From the first night, I slept like a log, waking early and refreshed.’
      • ‘As far as he was concerned, he had slept like a log.’
      • ‘I slept like a log, and made it in to the hospital just after 10 this morning.’
      • ‘‘You may've murmured a couple of things but other than that you slept like a log,’ I lied.’
      • ‘I slept like a log last night, for ten solid hours.’
      • ‘When I'd finished the work, I crawled to my bed and slept like a log and then woke up ready for work again.’
      • ‘He slept like a log for the best part of two hours.’
      • ‘But, then again, I sleep like a log even when it is not one o'clock in the morning.’
      • ‘She thinks that just because she sleeps like a log, everyone else must, too.’
      • ‘The beds were really comfortable and I slept like a log every night.’
  • sleep on it

    • informal Delay making a decision on something until the following day so as to have more time to consider it.

      • ‘He said he's sleeping on it and is going to make a decision tomorrow.’
      • ‘Perhaps if he slept on it, he might find a solution.’
      • ‘I slept on it, and I still think it is a good point.’
      • ‘I had some misgivings, and he had some misgivings, so I suggested he sleep on it overnight before rushing into a decision.’
      • ‘I don't regret any of what I said, because it was how I was feeling at the time, but I do regret that I didn't sleep on it and give some thought to the tone and content.’
      • ‘Glendon said: ‘Lee changed his mind after sleeping on it and stated he was happy at Rammy.’’
      • ‘Having slept on it, I think it's probably fair to conclude that the media reported Clark's statements accurately.’
      • ‘After sleeping on it, I decided I probably could have waited longer for the levity.’
      • ‘‘She said she wanted to sleep on it,’ the care worker said.’
      • ‘If only those around him had persuaded Mr Howard to sleep on it; to take the whole weekend off.’
  • the sleep of the just

    • A deep, untroubled sleep.

      • ‘With a celebratory brandy inside me, I nodded off to the beat of the engine, and the waves, and slept the sleep of the just and the exhausted.’
      • ‘He could find them, however, nowhere; so returned early to his rooms, went early to bed, and slept the sleep of the just.’
      • ‘After tracking down some local seafood cooking, and a walk down to the beach at dusk, we return to the hotel to sleep the sleep of the just.’
      • ‘I washed it down with a small brandy and American and repaired to bed to sleep the sleep of the just and the weary.’
      • ‘There's a person in America still sleeping the sleep of the just to whom I bunged an e-mail hours ago in the confident but foolish expectation of a quick reply.’
      • ‘That night at the cabin the Sorceress slept the sleep of the just.’
      • ‘One night when I was about 4 years old, and sleeping the sleep of the just, I heard a commotion downstairs.’
      • ‘As she slept she looked like a goddess; her sleep was the sleep of the just.’
      • ‘I had sketched it all out on my ride home, and all I needed to do was travel the last few miles, go inside, type it all up, and sleep the sleep of the just.’
  • sleep rough

    • Sleep in uncomfortable conditions, typically outdoors.

      • ‘After being made redundant, she slept rough for a few nights in a derelict building and was unlucky enough to be caught in a heavy frost.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, between three and six hundred people sleep rough in Melbourne every night.’
      • ‘In it, they describe the circumstances in which they became homeless and visit some of the places in the district in which they have slept rough, from a cemetery in Keighley to a derelict barn.’
      • ‘On average three people a night sleep rough in Richmond.’
      • ‘As the temperature struggled to remain above zero, volunteers slept rough to raise awareness of the struggles facing the homeless on a day-to-day basis.’
      • ‘On the night of January 8 he was found a bed, but had to sleep rough outside the Home Office the following night.’
      • ‘It helps the vulnerable people in our society who find themselves homeless and having to sleep rough, along with those who are isolated or are trying to rebuild their lives.’
      • ‘They all slept rough the previous night and many managed to blank out the morning sniffing glue.’
      • ‘It shows that almost a third of young people put themselves at risk by staying with a stranger while away from home, two out of five young people slept rough, one in eight was physically hurt and one in nine was sexually assaulted.’
      • ‘He cannot stay at grandmother's because of the condition of his licence and he is now sleeping rough.’
  • sleep tight

    • [usually in imperative]Sleep well (said to someone when parting from them at night)

      • ‘With Frank on the board, corporate managements can sleep tight in the knowledge that Frank won't have a clue what's going on.’
      • ‘So good night, sleep tight, hope the bugs don't bite.’
      • ‘Goodnight sweetheart, sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.’
      • ‘Goodnight girls, sleep tight, help yourselves to anything in the car.’
      • ‘It is incomprehensible to most westerners how anyone could sleep tight in a room six feet by four and a half by three and a bit.’
      • ‘‘‘Night, guys,’ I said, before he could get another word in edgewise, and after hearing two normal responses and a ‘nighty-night, sleep tight!’’
      • ‘‘Goodnight, sleep tight,’ I whispered, for lack of anything creative, and winced at the cliché.’
  • sleep with one eye open

    • Sleep very lightly, aware of what is happening around one.

      • ‘She must have heard something because according to her father she slept with one eye open at all times.’
      • ‘I have spent my life in an area where you needed to sleep with one eye open to survive.’
      • ‘As deluxe as the accommodations were, we were constantly on the look-out for thugs and gangs - as well as police; and, slept with one eye open.’
      • ‘I set his crib next to my bed, and I slept with one eye open.’
      • ‘We had to basically sleep with one eye open at all times, because we had an environment there that was ripe for chaos.’
      • ‘If you don't sleep with one eye open you're going to be in deep trouble tomorrow.’
      • ‘It was very scary; I had to sleep with one eye open.’
      • ‘So, if I were you, tonight I'd sleep with one eye open.’
      • ‘Brown gives the impression these days that, like the proverbial fox, he sleeps with one eye open.’
      • ‘I'm sleeping with one eye open because it's disturbing.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • sleep around

    • Have many casual sexual partners.

      • ‘Now, she just felt like a person who sleeps around seeking sexual gratification.’
      • ‘He is not sleeping around outside of our marriage, as far as I know.’
      • ‘But anyone can sleep around, what is risqué about that?’
      • ‘It is assumed that you only get pregnant if you sleep around.’
      • ‘Before I met him, he was quite wild - drinking and sleeping around.’
      • ‘I wish my roommate could stop sleeping around with every man she comes into contact with.’
      • ‘They are lovers, but he sleeps around with other women too.’
      • ‘Threesomes are very common in gay relationships, often though they are used as a way to appease a partner who wants to sleep around.’
      • ‘She knows he is sleeping around but she won't use condoms because ‘that would look as if I don't trust him.’’
      • ‘When he did, she was angry and admitted she had been sleeping around during their entire relationship.’
  • sleep in

    • 1Remain asleep or in bed later than usual in the morning.

      • ‘I let myself sleep in for ages this morning because I need all the energy I can get at the moment.’
      • ‘The next morning we all slept in, but when we got up we were ravenous.’
      • ‘We usually slept in Sunday mornings, waking just in time for her favorite cartoons.’
      • ‘Sunday mornings are for sleeping in, not for physical exertion with the pub footie team.’
      • ‘As is my wont, I slept in this morning and made up for a few short nights earlier in the week.’
      • ‘Just because she had slept in on one morning did not mean that everybody had to be offensive.’
      • ‘I need to stop sleeping in on weekends, no matter how good it feels to do so.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, my sleeping in this morning meant Katharine had to get her own breakfast.’
      • ‘The weather is clear, and crisp, it's not icy underfoot, and after a tiring week, we sleep in and miss the morning.’
      • ‘I was too tired to get up and go to school for 8 in the morning so I just slept in.’
      1. 1.1Sleep by night at one's place of work.
        • ‘It was a cool hotel and I didn't mind at all that I had to sleep in for one night.’
        • ‘A team of seven staff works at the home with at least two staff on duty at all times during the day and one sleeping in overnight.’
        • ‘At the new home, the staff who sleep in overnight did not like being disturbed during the night.’
  • sleep something off/away

    • Dispel the effects of or recover from something by going to sleep.

      ‘she thought it wise to let him sleep off his hangover’
      • ‘Stay tuned for further reports just as soon as Aaron has slept it off.’
      • ‘We slept hangovers off together and it felt so nice just to be close to someone, to him.’
      • ‘Just before 3 am I get back to my room and sleep it off.’
      • ‘You sample everything, then sleep it off, and come back next night again for dinner.’
      • ‘The second time, I slept it off for two days at home and didn't even call the psychiatrist.’
      • ‘My father slept, or I should say slept it off, in the master bedroom.’
      • ‘But instead of waiting until he sobered up or slept it off, she would launch into him.’
      • ‘Instead, she says, the advice would be to help your child to bed, let them sleep it off, then discuss things in a rational way once you have calmed down.’
      • ‘I return about 11 am hoping he would be sleeping it off.’
      • ‘She laughed and lay on our bed, her arms round me, while I slept it off.’
      • ‘I spent yesterday afternoon on the couch, trying to sleep it off, or at least rest it off.’
      • ‘She went to bed after taking a couple of painkillers hoping to sleep the pain off, but her husband was later unable to wake her up.’
      • ‘We are saying do not drink and drive, get a designated driver or sleep it off.’
  • sleep out

    • Sleep outdoors.

      • ‘Imagine sleeping out in the open in temperatures touching freezing.’
      • ‘This will be the first time for many of the Beavers to sleep out and we hope they have a great night.’
      • ‘Cornell was a collegiate hockey powerhouse, and I was a season ticket holder each of my four years there, which necessitated sleeping out a couple of nights just to get tickets.’
      • ‘152 respondents were sleeping out in a wide variety of locations with parks, streets and squats being the most common’
      • ‘The semi-rectangular bag stuffs down to the size of a two-liter bottle - tuck it into a waist pack and fellow hikers will never suspect you're sleeping out.’
      • ‘We slept out on the floor of the desert with the vast sky overreaching, flooded with stars.’
      • ‘Far too many people, especially young people, are sleeping out on the streets every night, and many are aged 13 to 16.’
      • ‘I slept out under the stars at Sunset Huts who were good enough to let me use their facilities.’
      • ‘United fans slept out overnight at the weekend to guarantee themselves a place at the second leg of the club's first League Cup semi-final and the tickets sold out.’
      • ‘‘No matter what they say, this will mean more people sleeping out on Darling St,’ Dr Lennane said.’
  • sleep over

    • Spend the night at a place other than one's own home.

      ‘Katie was asked to sleep over with Jenny’
      • ‘Kari had slept over for the night, in yet another room.’
      • ‘She told the other girls, who had slept over the night before.’
      • ‘If you're going to have a big night, plan to sleep over or catch a cab.’
      • ‘Well, he slept over with Chris last night, and in the morning he was gone, and he hasn't returned yet.’
      • ‘Last night I slept over at my parents' house, in my old room, in my old bed.’
      • ‘Jade was sleeping over that night and they was making the best of it by watching movies, and eating popcorn.’
      • ‘Although we had spend several Friday or Saturday nights together sleeping over during that summer, this was very special.’
      • ‘I'm no longer hung up on Jesse which is a good thing because he's coming to sleep over in three nights.’
      • ‘One night when I slept over she told me she was going to cut off all my hair when I fell asleep.’
      • ‘Evander had slept over a night here and there since moving out of course, but never prolonged his stay more than he had to.’


Old English slēp, slǣp (noun), slēpan, slǣpan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch slapen and German schlafen.