sleep

noun
\ˈslēp \

Definition of sleep 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored — compare rem sleep, slow-wave sleep

2 : a state resembling sleep: such as

a : a state of torpid inactivity

b : death put a pet cat to sleep also : trance, coma

c : the closing of leaves or petals especially at night

d : a state marked by a diminution of feeling followed by tingling my foot's gone to sleep

e : the state of an animal during hibernation

3a : a period spent sleeping

b : night

c : a day's journey

4 : crusty matter present in the corner of an eye upon awakening

sleep

verb
slept\ ˈslept \; sleeping

Definition of sleep (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to rest in a state of sleep

2 : to be in a state (as of quiescence or death) resembling sleep

3 : to have sexual relations usually used with with

transitive verb

1 : to be slumbering in slept the sleep of the dead

2 : to get rid of or spend in or by sleep sleep away the hours sleep off a headache

3 : to provide sleeping accommodations for the boat sleeps six

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sleep

Noun

sleeplike \ ˈslēp-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for sleep

Synonyms: Noun

curtains, death, decease, demise, dissolution, doom, end, exit, expiration, fate, grave, great divide, passage, passing, quietus

Synonyms: Verb

catnap, doze, nap, rest, slumber, snooze

Antonyms: Noun

birth, nativity

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of sleep in a Sentence

Noun

I just need to get some sleep. How much sleep did you get last night? Her roommate talks in her sleep. The noise woke her from a deep sleep. He woke up and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.

Verb

I couldn't sleep last night. I was awake all night long. I usually try to sleep for at least eight hours every night. Did you sleep soundly last night? We were sleeping peacefully when a sudden loud noise woke us up. I can never sleep on airplanes. The tent sleeps five adults.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Getting enough good quality sleep can be a struggle. Karen Campbell, BostonGlobe.com, "Trouble sleeping? Let your senses be your guide," 12 July 2018 Everyone else in the cast looks edgy, sleep-deprived and dangerous. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "A Coarse, Cacophonous, Compelling 'Cabaret' In New Haven," 26 June 2018 The kind who think sleep is for people who are lazy or dead. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "I Hacked My Body So You Don't Have To," 25 June 2018 As has been mentioned, sleep is a large part of it. Jeanne Whalen, WSJ, "Is Screen Time Bad for Children’s Mental Health?," 24 June 2018 This sleep-depriving FOMO was exacerbated by the cacophony of heavy rain pounding on the tents most of the night. David G. Allan, CNN, "The infamous murderer's prison escape that inspired a near-impossible ultramarathon," 26 May 2018 When the show wraps, everyone is so revved up that sleep will be impossible. Amy Wallace, GQ, "Kate McKinnon Is Comedy’s Not-So-Secret Weapon," 21 May 2018 Getting a good night's sleep is a valuable prize on its own. Korin Miller, SELF, "Cardi B Says She’s Having 'Weird, Spooky' Dreams During Her Pregnancy," 7 May 2018 The competition is not only on the water between yachts, but also inside each cabin where food fuels the cold, exhausted and sleep-deprived crew. Christine Willmsen, The Seattle Times, "‘It’s not a luxury cruise’: Crews, yachts in around-the-world race settle into Seattle until next leg," 26 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Jessada also said a psychiatrist was attending to the boys, who are sleeping well and are not showing symptoms of stress. Fox News, "Mission accomplished and boys healthy, rescuers head home," 13 July 2018 On Tuesday night, Cordon’s attorney, Tanya Mitchell Graham, issued a statement indicating that an assailant had entered the home while Cordon was sleeping and then pistol-whipped her. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Potential Legal Ramifications of the Disturbing Accusations Against LeSean McCoy," 11 July 2018 Its 142 sailors have to find space on the 360-foot long submarine, and have to learn how to sleep and work in the same area. Frank Vaisvilas, Lake County News-Sun, "From Grayslake to the North Pole: Lake County native describes service aboard submarine," 7 June 2018 The truth is, all babies do is eat, sleep, potty, REPEAT for weeks. Zoe Weiner, Glamour, "Khloé Kardashian Opens About Breastfeeding and Formula-Feeding," 7 June 2018 But his impact on these musicians only accounts for part of the far-reaching legacy of Curtis, who died late Sunday afternoon while sleeping at his San Diego home. George Varga, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Lou Curtiss, a key mentor to Tom Waits, Jack Tempchin and other musicians, has died at 79," 10 July 2018 In Claire's Camera, Kim plays the employee of a film distribution company who loses her job when her female boss finds out she's slept with the boss's filmmaker boyfriend. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Hong Sang-soo and Kim Min-hee's real-life affair yields a trio of films about infidelity," 12 July 2018 Warren Beatty, effectively, ends up sleeping with her, and Carrie has to use the F-word to him. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Carrie Fisher's brother Todd details their tense last conversation," 10 July 2018 Their fractured friendship, the result of Ruth sleeping with Mark in the show's first season, is the heart of this second batch of episodes. Bonnie Stiernberg, Glamour, "If Betty Gilpin Doesn't Get an Emmy for GLOW, It's a Crime," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sleep.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of sleep

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for sleep

Noun

Middle English slepe, from Old English slǣp; akin to Old High German slāf sleep and perhaps to Latin labi to slip, slide

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sleep

Statistics for sleep

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sleep

The first known use of sleep was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sleep

sleep

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sleep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the natural state of rest during which your eyes are closed and you become unconscious

: a period of sleep especially of a particular kind

: the dry substance that sometimes forms in the corners of your eyes while you are sleeping

sleep

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sleep (Entry 2 of 2)

: to rest your mind and body by closing your eyes and becoming unconscious

: to have enough space for (a specified number of people) to sleep in it

sleep

verb
\ˈslēp \
slept\ ˈslept \; sleeping

Kids Definition of sleep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to rest with eyes closed in a temporary state of inactivity : be or lie in a state of sleep The baby is sleeping.

sleep

noun

Kids Definition of sleep (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a natural temporary state of rest during which an individual becomes physically inactive and unaware of the surrounding environment and many bodily functions (as breathing) slow

2 : an inactive state (as hibernation) like true sleep

3 : death sense 3 The sick pet was put to sleep.

Other Words from sleep

sleepless \ -​ləs \ adjective
sleeplessness noun

sleep

noun
\ˈslēp \

Medical Definition of sleep 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored — compare rem sleep, slow-wave sleep

2 : a state resembling sleep: as

a : death sense 1 put a pet cat to sleep

b : a state marked by a diminution of feeling followed by tingling her foot went to sleep

slept\ ˈslept \; sleeping

Medical Definition of sleep (Entry 2 of 2)

: to rest in a state of sleep

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on sleep

What made you want to look up sleep? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to express warning or disapproval

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!