sleep

noun
\ ˈslēp How to pronounce sleep (audio) \

Definition of sleep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the natural, easily reversible periodic state of many living things that is marked by the absence of wakefulness and by the loss of consciousness of one's surroundings, is accompanied by a typical body posture (such as lying down with the eyes closed), the occurrence of dreaming, and changes in brain activity and physiological functioning, is made up of cycles of non-REM sleep and REM sleep, and is usually considered essential to the restoration and recovery of vital bodily and mental functions
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 How to pronounce slept (audio) \; 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

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Other Words from sleep

Noun

sleeplike \ ˈslēp-​ˌlīk How to pronounce sleeplike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for sleep

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Unfortunately, Rhey had got them and eaten them, gone to sleep and just enjoyed them. Mykal Mceldowney, The Indianapolis Star, "‘He’s my sunlight’: Family celebrates life of Indianapolis man gunned down 2 years ago," 27 May 2020 They're said to help relieve stress and anxiety, as well as promote natural, deep sleep. Madeline Diamond, Travel + Leisure, "This Best-selling Weighted Blanket Now Comes in a Size Just for Kids," 21 May 2020 Following Turkey’s hundred-year sleep, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in full megalomania bids to restore a supercharged Ottoman Empire with Turkey as the leader of a confederation of 61 Muslim countries and the first Islamic aircraft carrier. Mark Helprin, National Review, "American Foreign and Defense Policy: Between Scylla and Charybdis," 16 Apr. 2020 The immediate goal was to get a handle on our expenses when our brains were especially sleep-deprived. Taylor Tepper, New York Times, "A Simple Trick to Reset Your Post-Baby Budget," 15 Apr. 2020 Given certain conditions, these universal experiences take over the body and transform it, sapping motivation and disrupting sleep, appetite and attention. Jonathan Kanter, The Conversation, "COVID-19 could lead to an epidemic of clinical depression, and the health care system isn’t ready for that, either," 3 Apr. 2020 Feeling positive even after losing an hour of sleep! Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "Kaley Cuoco's Morning Routine Is Perfect For Anyone Who's Not A Morning Person," 20 Mar. 2020 More important, the various stages of sleep, critical for storing long-term memories, can be identified by brain waves oscillating at different frequencies. R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, "The Brain Learns in Unexpected Ways," 12 Mar. 2020 Up to 23% reporting battling lack of sleep, about 18% face physical stress and 12% face mental stress. Prachi Salve, Quartz India, "“Sleepless for days”: Indian truckers are overworked, underpaid, and have no healthcare," 12 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lots of headaches haunted me, trouble sleeping at night. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "Me change? Don’t you know how hard it is for me to change? – Faith & You," 29 May 2020 The longtime truck driver’s income has plummeted, and places to eat, shower and sleep during his journeys have become harder to find. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "A Truck Driver’s Long Haul During Coronavirus Crisis: ‘You Realize Just How Alone We Are’," 28 May 2020 But what if the best way to conquer fine lines overnight wasn’t expensive anti-aging serums or uncomfortable sleeping positions, but a silicone patch. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "These Wrinkle Patches Are the Easiest Way to Reduce Fine Lines as You Sleep," 27 May 2020 With Keesler in the mix, trainees could be spaced out in dormitories at Lackland, sleeping nine feet apart. Sig Christenson, ExpressNews.com, "Air Force to keep Mississippi base as alternate location to its San Antonio basic training," 26 May 2020 As the months go on, the toll of this relentless pressure is becoming clear, with reports of rising anxiety and depression among health-care workers, whose struggles range from trouble sleeping all the way to suicide. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "The New Theatrics of Remote Therapy," 25 May 2020 The advance doesn’t work, and Erica spends several weeks sleeping on the floor. Julian Lucas, Harper's Magazine, "New Books," 25 May 2020 Bangla Sahib has kept its kitchen open, with the help of about four dozen men who sleep at the temple's guesthouse. Emily Schmall, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why New Delhi's Sikh kitchens cook 100,000 meals daily," 25 May 2020 Experts say even overnight camps might be doable if the camps follow CDC recommendations, which include limiting attendance to staff and campers from the same geographic area and aligning beds so people sleep head-to-toe at least 6 feet apart. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "What Parents Should Know About Coronavirus as Kids Return to Babysitters, Day Cares and Camps," 23 May 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for sleep

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sleep

Last Updated

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sleep.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sleep. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for sleep

sleep

noun
How to pronounce sleep (audio)

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
informal : 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 How to pronounce sleep (audio) \
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 How to pronounce sleep (audio) \

Medical Definition of sleep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the natural, easily reversible, periodic state of many living things that is marked by the absence of wakefulness and by the loss of consciousness of one's surroundings, is accompanied by a typical body posture (as lying down with the eyes closed), the occurrence of dreaming, and changes in brain activity and physiological functioning, is made up of cycles of non-REM sleep and REM sleep, and is usually considered essential to the restoration and recovery of vital bodily and mental functions
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 How to pronounce slept (audio) \; sleeping

Medical Definition of sleep (Entry 2 of 2)

: to rest in a state of sleep

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More from Merriam-Webster on sleep

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sleep

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sleep

Spanish Central: Translation of sleep

Nglish: Translation of sleep for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sleep for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sleep

Comments on sleep

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