si·​es·​ta sē-ˈe-stə How to pronounce siesta (audio)
: an afternoon nap or rest

Examples of siesta in a Sentence

Most of the shops were closed after lunch for a two-hour siesta. The shops are closed during siesta. He's taking a little siesta out there on the patio.
Recent Examples on the Web This same study on siestas found that individuals who napped for more than 30 minutes were more likely to have a higher body weight, higher blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. Good Housekeeping, 16 July 2023 According to People Who Actually Do It By Hannah Singleton As Norman and I acclimated to Tulum, measuring time in sunrises and siestas, we got invited to local activities, away from the tourist traps. Geena Rocero, SELF, 26 June 2023 Additional recent research on siestas, a Spanish word referring to a midday nap or rest break, found that people who often took a siesta lasting 30 minutes or less were 21% less likely to have elevated blood pressure compared to those who didn't take naps at all. Good Housekeeping, 16 July 2023 Perfect as an afternoon meal—followed by a siesta, of course. Kamalika Mukherjee, Vogue, 26 Jan. 2023 Because of this, some big-name companies such as Google and Ben & Jerry's are already embracing the siesta — permitting and even encouraging workers to take naps on the job. Carina Woudenberg, Discover Magazine, 13 Nov. 2021 One thing Prue Leith definitely can't live without is her bed—and an afternoon siesta. Emily Burack, Town & Country, 2 Dec. 2022 In the early afternoon, when the heat was at its most ferocious, everyone retreated to slivers of shade to take a siesta or just sit very still. Henry Wismayer, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'siesta.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Spanish, from Latin sexta (hora) noon, literally, sixth hour — more at sext

First Known Use

1655, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of siesta was in 1655

Dictionary Entries Near siesta

Cite this Entry

“Siesta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


si·​es·​ta sē-ˈes-tə How to pronounce siesta (audio)
: a nap or rest especially in the afternoon

from Spanish siesta "an afternoon nap or rest period," from Latin sexta (hora) "sixth (hour), noon"; so called because the Romans counted the hours from sunrise

Word Origin
In the ancient Roman way of keeping track of time, the hours of the day were counted from sunrise to sunset. The hour when the sun was most nearly directly overhead was their sixth hour, or sexta hora in Latin. As Latin developed into Spanish on the Iberian Peninsula, sexta became siesta. In some countries, like Spain, it may be too hot to work in the middle of the day. There it is the custom to take a short nap until the heat begins to lessen. This rest period is called siesta in Spanish, and this word has come directly into English with the same meaning.

More from Merriam-Webster on siesta

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