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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for somnolence
Historical Examples
  • I talked volubly and quite brilliantly with the definite purpose of showing up J——'s somnolence.

    The Journal of a Disappointed Man Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion
  • They pretended they desired this tranquillity, and somnolence of their hearts.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • The somnolence of a farmyard mid-afternoon brooded over the scene.

    Frank of Freedom Hill Samuel A. Derieux
  • A crack on the head makes you dizzy and into her dizziness a somnolence had entered.

    The Paliser case Edgar Saltus
  • I am awakened by my companion, who enjoins me, perhaps because I am indulging too loudly in somnolence, to be silent.

  • somnolence is nothing more than an inordinate tendency to sleep.

    Sleep and Its Derangements William A. Hammond
  • There could be no doubt of Tim's somnolence for he gave unmistakable evidence of it.

    Adrift in the Wilds Edward S. Ellis
  • She had noticed that the arrival of the bed seemed to draw him from his somnolence.

    The Lesser Bourgeoisie Honore de Balzac
  • If the ceasing of faction be the price of the King's somnolence, he may awake when he will, and take wing.

    The French Revolution Thomas Carlyle
  • Over all there brooded a spirit of somnolence and relaxation.

British Dictionary definitions for somnolence


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 somnolence

late 14c., from Old French sompnolence (14c.), from Latin somnolentia "sleepiness," from somnolentus, from somnus "sleep" (see somnus). Related: Somnolency.



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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somnolence in Medicine

somnolence som·no·lence (sŏm'nə-ləns)

  1. A state of drowsiness; sleepiness.

  2. A condition of semiconsciousness approaching coma.

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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