Origin of forty winks
First recorded in 1815–25
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for forty winks
Historical Examples of forty winks
British Dictionary definitions for forty winks
(functioning as singular or plural) informal a short light sleep; nap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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A nap; a short sleep: “If you're feeling drowsy, take forty winks; I'll wake you when our guests arrive.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Idioms and Phrases with forty winks
A brief nap, as in There's just time for forty winks before we have to leave. This expression supposedly was first recorded in 1828 and relies on wink in the sense of “sleep,” a usage dating from the 14th century.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.