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[som-nuh-luh nt] /ˈsɒm nə lənt/
sleepy; drowsy.
tending to cause sleep.
Origin of somnolent
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English sompnolent < Old French < Latin somnolentus, derivative of somnus sleep; see -ulent
Related forms
somnolence, somnolency, noun
somnolently, adverb
hypersomnolence, noun
hypersomnolent, adjective
hypersomnolently, adverb
semisomnolence, noun
semisomnolent, adjective
semisomnolently, adverb
unsomnolent, adjective
unsomnolently, adverb
1. slumberous. 2. somniferous, soporific. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for semi-somnolent
Historical Examples
  • Some of the time, indeed, I was in a semi-somnolent state, caused by weakness.

    In New Granada W.H.G. Kingston
  • At the edge of the clearing a solitary Maori sentry, a man armed with a revolver, sat, keeping a semi-somnolent guard.

  • Reason regained that supreme control which the semi-somnolent state had taken away.

  • By degrees my semi-somnolent faculties reasserted themselves and I remembered where I was.

    Mr. Marx's Secret

    E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • I think this semi-somnolent attitude is not always the mere attitude of repose.

    Stanley in Africa James P. Boyd
  • They roused themselves from their semi-somnolent condition and sat up to receive him, with glances of mute enquiry in their eyes.

    Two Gallant Sons of Devon Harry Collingwood
  • So he lapsed into a state of indecision,—a state resembling apathy, a half-dazed condition, a semi-somnolent waiting for events.

    The Continental Dragoon

    Robert Neilson Stephens
  • I was mistaken in this, however, and no doubt my semi-somnolent condition tended to increase its awfulness.

    The Gorilla Hunters R.M. Ballantyne
  • Now and again an empty cab returning to its stable, with weary horse and semi-somnolent coachman, crawled through the street.

British Dictionary definitions for semi-somnolent


drowsy; sleepy
causing drowsiness
Derived Forms
somnolence, somnolency, noun
somnolently, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin somnus sleep
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for semi-somnolent



mid-15c., sompnolent, from Old French sompnolent (Modern French somnolent) or directly from Latin somnolentus "sleepy, drowsy," from somnus "sleep" (see Somnus). Respelled 17c. on Latin model.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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semi-somnolent in Medicine

somnolent som·no·lent (sŏm'nə-lənt)

  1. Drowsy; sleepy.

  2. Inducing or tending to induce sleep; soporific.

  3. In a condition of incomplete sleep; semicomatose.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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