(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).
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for rip van winkle
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
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Word Origin and History for rip van winkle
"person out of touch with current conditions," 1829, from name of character in Washington Irving's "Sketch Book" (1819-20).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
rip van winkle in Culture
(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.