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 But the inclined sleeper was allowed to stay on the market because it was not classified as a crib or a bassinet, which are required by federal safety rules to have flat sleep surfaces. Washington Post, 2 June 2021 For a bit more comfort, riders can book a bed in a sleeper cabin. Chris O'brien, Forbes, 31 May 2021 The novel follows a Vietnamese army captain who questions his divided loyalties as a sleeper agent in the U.S. after the Vietnam War. Mary Cadden, USA Today, 30 May 2021 The playful flamingo-pink sleeper sofa is stain-treated to stand up to daily use. Samantha S. Thorpe, Better Homes & Gardens, 28 May 2021 The medium height of this pillow was popular among our back sleeper testers for keeping their neck aligned. Emma Seymour, Good Housekeeping, 25 May 2021 The Musical: The Series has been one of Disney Plus’ sleeper hits, thanks in no small part to the affable performances of Rodrigo and Bassett. Raisa Bruner, Time, 24 May 2021 Featuring a variety of materials and thread counts, this list has options for every kind of sleeper. Jillian Mueller,, 4 May 2021 Everyone seems to be doing less, and linen sheets bring a sense of ease to any bedscape, not to mention supreme versatility for all seasons and every kind of sleeper. Erin Parker, Glamour, 26 Mar. 2021

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sleeper

Last Updated

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sleeper.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on sleeper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sleeper

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


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