sleep·​er | \ ˈslē-pər How to pronounce sleeper (audio) \

Definition of sleeper

1 : one that sleeps
2 : a piece of timber, stone, or steel on or near the ground to support a superstructure, keep railroad rails in place, or receive floor joists : stringpiece
4 : someone or something unpromising or unnoticed that suddenly attains prominence or value the low-budget film became the summer's sleeper
5 : children's pajamas usually with feet usually used in plural
6 chiefly British : a small earring or stud worn to keep the hole of a pierced ear from closing

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Synonyms for sleeper


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Examples of sleeper in a Sentence

Sleepers were awakened by the sound of a loud crash. He may turn out to be the sleeper in this year's election. The movie was the summer's sleeper. The movie became the sleeper hit of the summer.
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Recent Examples on the Web Modern air mattresses include internal chambers to help distribute the sleeper’s weight and prevent sagging—and the next morning’s achey backs. Popular Science, "These top air mattresses offer convenience and comfort," 22 June 2020 Barkley mentioned the Philadelphia 76ers as his sleeper team in the Eastern Conference. oregonlive, "Charles Barkley picks the Trail Blazers as a ‘sleeper’ NBA championship contender," 17 June 2020 The carotid hold, also known as a sleeper hold or a blood choke, can lead to serious injury or even death and has been banned by many law enforcement agencies across the country since George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times, "Activists, students, parents rally for end to L.A. school police," 16 June 2020 Could one of the following half-dozen names be the type of sleeper prospect who could help vault Golden State back to contention? Connor Letourneau,, "Six potential sleepers for the Warriors in a critical NBA draft," 13 June 2020 With movie theaters across the country closed indefinitely and the year's release calendar decimated, The Vast of Night might be the closest thing 2020 has (or will have) to a sleeper hit. Tyler Aquilina,, "The Vast of Night director was 'the last person to know' about his DIY sci-fi film's success," 11 June 2020 The carotid restraint, also known as a sleeper hold, has a controversial history. Emilie Eaton,, "In San Antonio, police are allowed to use chokeholds but as a last resort," 10 June 2020 Strangeholds -- also called carotid restraints, sleeper holds or blood chokes -- temporarily cut off blood flow to the brain and are meant to render a subject unconscious for a time. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "The cities, states and countries finally putting an end to police neck restraints," 10 June 2020 Williamson's athleticism and playmaking at the rim alongside a talented supporting cast make this team the most dangerous sleeper of the 22 teams invited to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Five bold predictions for the long-awaited return of the NBA playoffs," 6 June 2020

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

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First Known Use of sleeper

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for sleeper

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The first known use of sleeper was in the 12th century

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Statistics for sleeper

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sleeper.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce sleeper (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sleeper

: a person who sleeps in a particular way
: someone who is asleep
: a place or piece of furniture that can be used for sleeping


sleep·​er | \ ˈslē-pər How to pronounce sleeper (audio) \

Kids Definition of sleeper

1 : someone that sleeps I'm a light sleeper.
2 : a railroad car with berths for sleeping

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More from Merriam-Webster on sleeper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sleeper

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sleeper

Spanish Central: Translation of sleeper

Nglish: Translation of sleeper for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sleeper

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