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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 somnolent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As for the man on the lookout, he was notorious for his somnolent powers.

    The Voyage of the Aurora Harry Collingwood
  • Alnwick is a town with a great past and a somnolent present.

  • The convicts gorged him with food, and he had become fat and somnolent.

    After the Divorce Grazia Deledda
  • For John Endlich it was all like the echo of a somnolent summer of his boyhood.

    Asteroid of Fear Raymond Zinke Gallun
  • The electorate was somnolent and permitted the politician to have his way.

    The Boss and the Machine Samuel P. Orth
  • But there was no doubt of the somnolent state of the Puritan.

    A Gentleman Player Robert Neilson Stephens
  • I cried, hurriedly, as I poked at the somnolent wretch with my cane.

    Christmas Penny Readings George Manville Fenn
  • The whole aspect of the place was that of somnolent respectability.

    Mortmain Arthur Cheny Train
  • Thorpe ate, his eyes half closed, in somnolent satisfaction.

    The Blazed Trail Stewart Edward White
British Dictionary definitions for 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 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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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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