Dictionary.com

forty winks

Save This Word!

noun Informal.
a short nap.
QUIZ
CAN YOU ANSWER THESE COMMON GRAMMAR DEBATES?
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of forty winks

First recorded in 1815–25
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use forty winks in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for forty winks

forty winks

noun
(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 Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for forty winks

forty winks

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.

Other Idioms and Phrases with forty winks

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.
FEEDBACK