sleep·er | \ˈslē-pər \

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


dozer, slumberer

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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

Like deep sleepers who put their alarm clock in the next room. William Wan,, "I had a bit of an app addiction. Until these apps saved me.," 5 July 2018 One publication that shall remain nameless — Sports Illustrated — listed Lewerke as a sleeper Heisman Trophy pick. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Forget the rankings. MSU's Brian Lewerke could be Big Ten's best QB," 11 July 2018 From the entrees, a sleeper hit was poulet blanchi, chicken cooked in a cream sauce with sweet peas and onions. Kate Washington, sacbee, "It’s good to be back: Celestin’s revives its particular brand of gumbo and grace," 22 June 2018 But experts at SportLine peg them as a possible sleeper for the 2018 World Cup. CBS News, "World Cup Saturday: France vs. Australia, Argentina vs. Iceland, Peru vs. Denmark, Croatia vs. Nigeria," 16 June 2018 For a sleeper hit, try it with some well-roasted wedges of fennel and a few orange segments. Francis Lam, New York Times, "Finding Inspiration in My Toddler’s Strange Obsession With Peppers," 13 June 2018 In the nearly two months since Kardashian gave birth to her daughter, True has already become a champion sleeper! Natalie Stone,, "Khloé Kardashian and Baby True Will Return to L.A. 'Really Soon,' Says Kris Jenner," 1 June 2018 Thorson is a traditional pocket passer who is currently looked at as a sleeper who could move into the first round with a good year. Alex Schiffer, kansascity, "Here's Drew Lock's competition in next year's NFL Draft | The Kansas City Star," 30 Mar. 2018 According to the film’s director, writer, and at least one Netflix executive, there could be a sequel to the romantic comedy sleeper hit on the way., "Set It Up...Again? Netflix Teased A Sequel & We Already Can’t Wait," 30 June 2018

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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Statistics for sleeper

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sleeper

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

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More Definitions for sleeper



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 \

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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Comments on sleeper

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


lying above or upon

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