to take the rest afforded by a suspension of voluntary bodily functions and the natural suspension, complete or partial, of consciousness; cease being awake.
Botany. to assume, especially at night, a state similar to the sleep of animals, marked by closing of petals, leaves, etc.
to be dormant, quiescent, or inactive, as faculties.
to be careless or unalert; allow one's alertness, vigilance, or attentiveness to lie dormant: While England slept, Germany prepared for war.
to lie in death: They are sleeping in their tombs.
to take rest in (a specified kind of sleep): He slept the sleep of the innocent.
to accommodate for sleeping; have sleeping accommodations for: This trailer sleeps three people.
to spend or pass in sleep (usually followed by away or out): to sleep the day away.
to recover from the effects of (a headache, hangover, etc.) by sleeping (usually followed by off or away).
the state of a person, animal, or plant that sleeps.
a period of sleeping: a brief sleep.
dormancy or inactivity.
the repose of death.
sleep around, Informal. to have sexual relations with many partners, especially in a casual way; be sexually promiscuous.
(especially of domestic help) to sleep where one is employed.
to sleep beyond one's usual time of arising.
sleep on, to postpone making a decision about for at least a day: to sleep on a proposal till the end of the week.
(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.
sleep over, to spend one or more nights in a place other than one's own home: Two friends will sleep over this weekend.
sleep together, to be sexual partners; have a sexual relationship.
sleep with, to have sexual relations with.
Idioms about sleep
put to sleep, to put (an animal) to death in a humane way: to put a sick old dog to sleep.
- sleepful, adjective
- sleeplike, adjective
- an·ti·sleep, adjective
- un·der·sleep, verb (used without object), un·der·slept, un·der·sleep·ing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use sleep in a sentence
It’s too soon to tell you much about battery life or the new built-in sleep tracking feature, and I’ll need more time to render a long-term verdict.Apple Watch Series 6 first impressions: A stretchy addition looks great | Aaron Pressman | September 17, 2020 | Fortune
Instead, the Academy recommends making sure that screen time does not substitute for any sleep or active time.Healthy screen time is one challenge of distance learning | Kathryn Hulick | September 11, 2020 | Science News For Students
You’ll visit islands like Santa Cruz and Isabela and either camp on the beach or sleep on a sailboat.
The team implemented training, nutrition, recovery, and sleep strategies based on where each player was in their cycle.
From pretty much the second or third day until then, so almost 1,000 miles, I had been plagued by shin splints, and ended up walking 20-hour days and getting two or three hours of sleep.
Lee would stay up late, unable to sleep from the pains he had in his back.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile | Robert Ward | January 3, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
On some Sundays he came to church with only two hours of sleep.Exposed: The Gay-Bashing Pastor’s Same-Sex Assault | M.L. Nestel | December 21, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Zubaydah and two other detainees were subsequently waterboarded, and subjected to other methods including sleep deprivation.CIA Interrogation Chief: ‘Rectal Feeding,’ Broken Limbs Are News to Me | Kimberly Dozier | December 11, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Detainees there were subject to sleep deprivation, shackled to bars with their hands above their heads.
He was slapped, grabbed in the face, placed in stress positions, placed in standing sleep deprivation, and doused with water.
At last Aristide fed him desperately, dandled him eventually to sleep, and returned to an excited pillow.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol | William J. Locke
Punch scratched himself in his sleep, and Judy moaned a little.Kipling Stories and Poems Every Child Should Know, Book II | Rudyard Kipling
Until we work up some weeks' reserve of water, food and cartridges, I shan't sleep sound.Gallipoli Diary, Volume I | Ian Hamilton
The white light of the moon had fallen upon the world like the mystery and the softness of sleep.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories | Kate Chopin
So how do you suppose Yung Pak's mother used to put him to sleep in this land where cradles were unknown?Our Little Korean Cousin | H. Lee M. Pike
British Dictionary definitions for sleep
a period spent sleeping
a state of quiescence or dormancy
a poetic or euphemistic word for death
informal the dried mucoid particles often found in the corners of the eyes after sleeping
(intr) to be in or as in the state of sleep
(intr) (of plants) to show nyctitropism
(intr) to be inactive or quiescent
(tr) to have sleeping accommodation for (a certain number): the boat could sleep six
(tr foll by away) to pass (time) sleeping
(intr) to fail to pay attention
(intr) poetic, or euphemistic to be dead
sleep on it to give (something) extended consideration, esp overnight
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
Scientific definitions for sleep
A natural, reversible state of rest in most vertebrate animals, occurring at regular intervals and necessary for the maintenance of health. During sleep, the eyes usually close, the muscles relax, and responsiveness to external stimuli decreases. Growth and repair of the tissues of the body are thought to occur, and energy is conserved and stored. In humans and certain other animals, sleep occurs in five stages, the first four consisting of non-REM sleep and the last stage consisting of REM sleep. These stages constitute a sleep cycle that repeats itself about five times during a normal episode of sleep. Each cycle is longer that the one preceding it because the length of the REM stage increases with every cycle until waking occurs. Stage I is characterized by drowsiness, Stage II by light sleep, and Stages III and IV by deep sleep. Stages II and III repeat themselves before REM sleep (Stage V), which occurs about 90 minutes after the onset of sleep. During REM sleep, dreams occur, and memory is thought to be organized. In the stages of non-REM sleep, there are no dreams, and brain activity decreases while the body recovers from wakeful activity. The amount and periodicity of sleep in humans vary with age, with infants sleeping frequently for shorter periods, and mature adults sleeping for longer uninterrupted periods. See also non-REM sleep REM sleep.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with sleep
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.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.