Rip Van Winkle

[ rip van -wing-kuhl ]
/ ˌrɪp væn ˈwɪŋ kəl /


(in a story by Washington Irving) a ne'er-do-well who sleeps 20 years and upon waking is startled to find how much the world has changed.
(italics) the story itself, published in The Sketch Book (1819).



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Words nearby Rip Van Winkle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle
/ (ˈrɪp væn ˈwɪŋkəl) /

noun informal

a person who is oblivious to changes, esp in social attitudes or thought
a person who sleeps a lot

Word Origin for Rip Van Winkle

C19: from a character who slept for 20 years, in a story (1819) by Washington Irving (1783–1859), US writer
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 Rip Van Winkle

“Rip Van Winkle”

(1819) A story by Washington Irving. The title character goes to sleep after a game of bowling and much drinking in the mountains with a band of dwarves. He awakens twenty years later, an old man. Back home, Rip finds that all has changed: his wife is dead, his daughter is married, and the American Revolutionary War has taken place.

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.