a. A natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body, in which the eyes usually close and consciousness is completely or partially lost, so that there is a decrease in bodily movement and responsiveness to external stimuli. During sleep the brain in humans and other mammals undergoes a characteristic cycle of brain-wave activity that includes intervals of dreaming.
b. A period of this form of rest.
c. A state of inactivity resembling or suggesting sleep; unconsciousness, dormancy, hibernation, or death.
d. A state in which a computer shuts off or reduces power to its peripherals (such as the display or memory) in order to save energy during periods of inactivity.
2. Botany The folding together of leaflets or petals at night or in the absence of light.
3. A crust of dried tears or mucus normally forming around the inner rim of the eye during sleep.
v. slept (slĕpt), sleep·ing, sleeps
1. To be in the state of sleep or to fall asleep.
2. To be in a condition resembling sleep.
1. To pass or get rid of by sleeping: slept away the day; went home to sleep off the headache.
2. To provide sleeping accommodations for: This tent sleeps three comfortably.
sleep around Informal
To have sexual relations with a number of different partners in casual encounters.
1. To sleep at one's place of employment: a butler and a chauffeur who sleep in.
a. To oversleep: I missed the morning train because I slept in.
b. To sleep late on purpose: After this week's work, I will sleep in on Saturday.
To think about (something) overnight before deciding.
1. To sleep at one's own home, not at one's place of employment.
2. To sleep away from one's home.
To spend the night as a guest in another's home.
To have sexual relations.
To have sexual relations with.
sleep like a log/rock
To sleep very deeply.
[Middle English slepe, from Old English slǣp; see slēb- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.