- a person or thing that sleeps.
- a heavy horizontal timber for distributing loads.
- Building Trades.
- any long wooden, metal, or stone piece lying horizontally as a sill or footing.
- any of a number of wooden pieces, laid upon the ground or upon masonry or concrete, to which floorboards are nailed.
- a sleeping car.
- Informal. something or someone that becomes unexpectedly successful or important after a period of being unnoticed, ignored, or considered unpromising or a failure: The play was the sleeper of the season.
- merchandise that is not quickly sold because its value is not immediately recognized.
- Often sleepers. one-piece or two-piece pajamas with feet, especially for children.
- a sofa, chair, or other piece of furniture that is designed to open up or unfold into a bed; convertible.
- Also called sleep, sand. a globule that forms at the inner corner of the eye, especially during sleep, from the accumulated secretion of the glands of the eyelid.
- any of several gobioid fishes of the family Eleotridae, of tropical seas, most species of which have the habit of resting quietly on the bottom.
- Slang. a spy; mole.
- Slang. a juvenile delinquent sentenced to serve more than nine months.
- Bowling. a pin that is hidden from view by another pin.
- Chiefly British. a timber or beam laid in a railroad track, serving as a foundation or support for the rails; tie.
Origin of sleeper
Examples from the Web for sleeper
Hollywood might possibly fear North Korean sleeper cells capable of blowing up theaters that screen anti-Nork films.Pyongyang Shuffle: Hollywood In Dead Panic Over Sony Hack
December 19, 2014
But faced with a sleeper hit, HBO shockingly did not quite feel the same way.Alright ‘True Detective,’ You Got Me: Taylor Kitsch Is a Woman’s Man
November 1, 2014
Sam Brownback—The Kansas Governor might be the sleeper in this race to crazy.How Long Can the Republicans Hide The Crazy?
September 20, 2014
One night late that summer they put him aboard the sleeper for Winnipeg, and when he got off he asked for the Marlborough Hotel.Gordie Howe Hockey’s Greatest War Horse
May 31, 2014
For a presidential race, McCrary says Georgia will probably look like a true swing state in 2020 and could be a sleeper in 2016.A Carter Could Turn Georgia Blue
March 14, 2014
So keen the blade, so soft the touch, the sleeper did not wake!
The sounding thumps of his hoofs on the ground awoke the sleeper.Johnny Bear
E. T. Seton
She had not withdrawn her hand, when the sleeper opened her eyes and started.Little Dorrit
As Joe said this he stared down at the sleeper, a curious tensity in his eyes.The Harbor
While he was thus engaged, the sleeper, without any starting or turning round, awoke.Barnaby Rudge
- a person, animal, or thing that sleeps
- a railway sleeping car or compartment
- British one of the blocks supporting the rails on a railway trackUS and Canadian equivalent: tie
- a heavy timber beam, esp one that is laid horizontally on the ground
- mainly British a small plain gold circle worn in a pierced ear lobe to prevent the hole from closing up
- a wrestling hold in which a wrestler presses the sides of his opponent's neck, causing him to pass out
- US an unbranded calf
- Also called: sleeper goby any gobioid fish of the family Eleotridae, of brackish or fresh tropical waters, resembling the gobies but lacking a ventral sucker
- informal a person or thing that achieves unexpected success after an initial period of obscurity
- a spy planted in advance for future use, but not currently active
Word Origin and History for sleeper
Old English slæpere "one who sleeps, one who is inclined to sleep much," agent noun from sleep (v.). Meaning "strong horizontal beam" is from c.1600. Meaning "dormant or inoperative thing" is from 1620s. Meaning "railroad sleeping car" is from 1875. Sense of "something whose importance proves to be greater than expected" first attested 1892, originally in American English sports jargon, probably from earlier (1856) gambling slang sense of "unexpected winning card." Meaning "spy, enemy agent, terrorist etc. who remains undercover for a long time before attempting his purpose" first attested 1955, originally in reference to communist agents in the West.