verb (used without object), slept, sleep·ing.
verb (used with object), slept, sleep·ing.
- (especially of domestic help) to sleep where one is employed.
- to sleep beyond one's usual time of arising.
- (especially of domestic help) to sleep away from one's place of employment.
- Chiefly Northern U.S.to sleep away from one's home.
- to sleep outdoors.
Origin of sleep
Synonyms for sleep
verb sleeps, sleeping or slept
Word Origin for sleep
Old English slæpan "to be or fall asleep; be dormant or inactive" (class VII strong verb; past tense slep, past participle slæpen), from Proto-Germanic *slepan (cf. Old Saxon slapan, Old Frisian slepa, Middle Dutch slapen, Dutch slapen, Old High German slafen, German schlafen, Gothic slepan "to sleep"), from PIE root *sleb- "to be weak, sleep" (cf. Old Church Slavonic slabu "lax, weak," Lithuanian silpnas "weak"), which perhaps is connected to the root of slack (adj.). Sleep with "do the sex act with" is in Old English:
Gif hwa fæmnan beswice unbeweddode, and hire mid slæpe ... [Laws of King Alfred, c.900]
Related: Slept; sleeping. Sleep around first attested 1928.
Old English slæp "sleep, sleepiness, inactivity," from Proto-Germanic *slepaz, from the root of sleep (v.); cf. cognate Old Saxon slap, Old Frisian slep, Middle Dutch slæp, Dutch slaap, Old High German slaf, German Schlaf, Gothic sleps.
Personified in English from late 14c., on model of Latin Somnus), Greek Hypnos. Figurative use for "repose of death" was in Old English; to put (an animal) to sleep "kill painlessly" is recorded from 1923 (a similar imagery is in cemetery). Sleep deprivation attested from 1906. Sleep-walker "somnambulist" is attested from 1747; sleep-walking is from 1840. To be able to do something in (one's) sleep "easily" is recorded from 1953.
put to sleep
Bore utterly, as in That show put me to sleep. This hyperbolic term implies that something is so dull one could fall asleep.
Kill, especially as a kindness, as in We had to put the cat to sleep. This euphemism dates from the mid-1900s.
Subject to anesthesia, as in This injection will put you to sleep so you won't feel any pain.
In addition to the idioms beginning with sleep
- sleep around
- sleep a wink, not
- sleep in
- sleep like a log
- sleep on something
- sleep out
- sleep over
- sleep through
- sleep with
- let sleeping dogs lie
- lose sleep over
- put to sleep
Also see underasleep.