What does Sleep mean?

Definitions for Sleep

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Sleep.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sleep, slumbernoun

    a natural and periodic state of rest during which consciousness of the world is suspended

    "he didn't get enough sleep last night"; "calm as a child in dreamless slumber"

  2. sleep, sopornoun

    a torpid state resembling deep sleep

  3. sleep, napnoun

    a period of time spent sleeping

    "he felt better after a little sleep"; "there wasn't time for a nap"

  4. rest, eternal rest, sleep, eternal sleep, quietusverb

    euphemisms for death (based on an analogy between lying in a bed and in a tomb)

    "she was laid to rest beside her husband"; "they had to put their family pet to sleep"

  5. sleep, kip, slumber, log Z's, catch some Z'sverb

    be asleep

  6. sleepverb

    be able to accommodate for sleeping

    "This tent sleeps six people"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Sleepnoun

    Repose; rest; suspension of the mental powers; slumber.

    Etymology: from the verb.

    Methought I heard a voice cry sleep no more!
    Macbeth doth murder sleep; the innocent sleep;
    Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care;
    The birth of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
    Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
    Chief nourisher in life’s feast. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    Cold calleth the spirits to succour; and therefore they cannot so well close and go together in the head, which is ever requisite to sleep. And for the same cause, pain and noise hinder sleep; and darkness furthereth sleep. Francis Bacon.

    Beasts that sleep in winter, as wild bears, during their sleep wax very fat, though they eat nothing. Francis Bacon.

    His fasten’d hands the rudder keep,
    And fix’d on heav’n, his eyes repel invading sleep. Dryden.

    Hermes o’er his head in air appear’d,
    His hat adorn’d with wings disclos’d the god,
    And in his hand the sleep-compelling rod. Dryden.

    Infants spend the greatest part of their time in sleep, and are seldom awake but when hunger calls for the teat, or some pain forces the mind to perceive it. John Locke.

  2. To Sleepverb

    Etymology: slepan, Gothick; sleepan , Saxon; slaepen, Dutch.

    I’ve watch’d and travell’d hard:
    Some time I shall sleep out; the rest I’ll whistle. William Shakespeare.

    Where’s Pede? —— go you, and where you find a maid,
    That, ere she sleep, hath thrice her prayers said,
    Rein up the organs of her fantasy;
    Sleep she as sound as careless infancy;
    But those that sleep, and think not on their sins,
    Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides, and shins. William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor.

    If the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge. Deut.

    Sleep on now, and take your rest; behold the hour is at hand. Matth. xxvi. 45.

    Peace, good reader! do not weep;
    Peace! the lovers are asleep:
    They, sweet turtles! folded lie,
    In the last knot that love could tie.
    Let them sleep, let them sleep on,
    Till this stormy night be gone,
    And the eternal morrow dawn,
    Then the curtains will be drawn,
    And they waken with that light,
    Whose day shall never sleep in night. Richard Crashaw.

    Those who at any time sleep without dreaming, can never be convinced that their thoughts are for four hours busy without their knowing it. John Locke.

    Steel, if thou turn thine edge, or cut not out the burly-bon’d clown in chines of beef ere thou sleep in thy sheath, I beseech Jove on my knees thou mayst be turned into hob-nails. William Shakespeare, Henry VI.

    How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
    Here will we sit, and let the sounds of musick
    Creep in our ears. William Shakespeare, Merch. of Venice.

    The giddy ship, betwixt the winds and tides,
    Forc’d back and forwards, in a circle rides,
    Stunn’d with the different blows; then shoots amain,
    Till counterbuff’d she stops, and sleeps again. Dryden.

    We sleep over our happiness, and want to be rouzed into a quick thankful sense of it. Francis Atterbury.

    If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 1 Thess.

    A person is said to be dead to us, because we cannot raise from the grave; though he only sleeps unto God, who can raise from the chamber of death. John Ayliffe, Parergon.

    Heav’n will one day open
    The king’s eyes, that so long have slept upon
    This bold, bad man. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    You ever
    Have wish’d the sleeping of this business, never
    Desir’d it to be stirr’d. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.


  1. Sleep

    Sleep is a sedentary state of mind and body. It is characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, reduced muscle activity and reduced interactions with surroundings. It is distinguished from wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, but more reactive than a coma or disorders of consciousness, with sleep displaying different, active brain patterns. Sleep occurs in repeating periods, in which the body alternates between two distinct modes: REM sleep and non-REM sleep. Although REM stands for "rapid eye movement", this mode of sleep has many other aspects, including virtual paralysis of the body. Dreams are a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. During sleep, most of the body's systems are in an anabolic state, helping to restore the immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems; these are vital processes that maintain mood, memory, and cognitive function, and play a large role in the function of the endocrine and immune systems. The internal circadian clock promotes sleep daily at night. The diverse purposes and mechanisms of sleep are the subject of substantial ongoing research. Sleep is a highly conserved behavior across animal evolution, likely going back hundreds of millions of years.Humans may suffer from various sleep disorders, including dyssomnias such as insomnia, hypersomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea; parasomnias such as sleepwalking and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder; bruxism; and circadian rhythm sleep disorders. The use of artificial light has substantially altered humanity's sleep patterns. Common sources of artificial light include outdoor lighting and the screens of electronic devices such as smartphones and televisions, which emit large amounts of blue light, a form of light typically associated with daytime. This disrupts the release of the hormone melatonin needed to regulate the sleep-cycle.


  1. sleep

    Sleep is a natural, recurring state of bodily rest and reduced consciousness in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes are closed, and there is minimal voluntary movement. During sleep, the brain undergoes various physiological and neurological processes necessary for rest, recuperation, memory consolidation, and overall physical and mental health.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sleep

    imp. of Sleep. Slept

  2. Sleepverb

    to take rest by a suspension of the voluntary exercise of the powers of the body and mind, and an apathy of the organs of sense; to slumber

  3. Sleepverb

    to be careless, inattentive, or uncouncerned; not to be vigilant; to live thoughtlessly

  4. Sleepverb

    to be dead; to lie in the grave

  5. Sleepverb

    to be, or appear to be, in repose; to be quiet; to be unemployed, unused, or unagitated; to rest; to lie dormant; as, a question sleeps for the present; the law sleeps

  6. Sleepverb

    to be slumbering in; -- followed by a cognate object; as, to sleep a dreamless sleep

  7. Sleepverb

    to give sleep to; to furnish with accomodations for sleeping; to lodge

  8. Sleepverb

    a natural and healthy, but temporary and periodical, suspension of the functions of the organs of sense, as well as of those of the voluntary and rational soul; that state of the animal in which there is a lessened acuteness of sensory perception, a confusion of ideas, and a loss of mental control, followed by a more or less unconscious state

  9. Etymology: [OE. slepen, AS. slpan; akin to OFries. slpa, OS. slpan, D. slapen, OHG. slfan, G. schlafen, Goth. slpan, and G. schlaff slack, loose, and L. labi to glide, slide, labare to totter. Cf. Lapse.]


  1. Sleep

    Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished from wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, and is more easily reversible than being in hibernation or a coma. Sleep is a heightened anabolic state, accentuating the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems. It is observed in all mammals, all birds, and many reptiles, amphibians, and fish. The purposes and mechanisms of sleep are only partially clear and the subject of substantial ongoing research. Sleep is sometimes thought to help conserve energy, though this theory is not fully adequate as it only decreases metabolism by about 5–10%. Additionally it is observed that mammals require sleep even during the hypometabolic state of hibernation, in which circumstance it is actually a net loss of energy as the animal returns from hypothermia to euthermia in order to sleep.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Sleep

    slēp, v.i. to take rest by relaxation: to become unconscious: to slumber: to rest: to be motionless or inactive: to remain unnoticed: to live thoughtlessly: to be dead: to rest in the grave:—pa.t. and pa.p. slept.—n. the state of one who, or that which, sleeps: slumber: rest: the dormancy of some animals during winter: (bot.) nyctitropism.—n. Sleep′er, one who sleeps: a horizontal timber supporting a weight, rails, &c.—adv. Sleep′ily.—n. Sleep′iness.—p.adj. Sleep′ing, occupied with, or for, sleeping: dormant.—n. the state of resting in sleep: (Shak.) the state of being at rest or in abeyance.—ns. Sleep′ing-car, -carriage, a railway-carriage in which passengers have berths for sleeping in; Sleep′ing-draught, a drink given to bring on sleep; Sleep′ing-part′ner (see Partner).—adj. Sleep′less, without sleep: unable to sleep.—adv. Sleep′lessly.—ns. Sleep′lessness; Sleep′-walk′er, one who walks while asleep: a somnambulist; Sleep′-walking.—adj. Sleep′y, inclined to sleep: drowsy: dull: lazy.—n. Sleep′yhead, a lazy person.—On sleep (B.), asleep. [A.S. slǽpanslǽp; Ger. schlaf, Goth. sleps.]

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. sleep

    1. [techspeak] To relinquish a claim (of a process on a multitasking system) for service; to indicate to the scheduler that a process may be deactivated until some given event occurs or a specified time delay elapses. 2. In jargon, used very similarly to v. block; also in sleep on, syn.: with block on. Often used to indicate that the speaker has relinquished a demand for resources until some (possibly unspecified) external event: “They can't get the fix I've been asking for into the next release, so I'm going to sleep on it until the release, then start hassling them again.”

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Sleep

    A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. sleep

    A sail sleeps when, steadily filled with wind, it bellies to the breeze.

Suggested Resources

  1. sleep

    Song lyrics by sleep -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by sleep on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. SLEEP

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Sleep is ranked #44193 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Sleep surname appeared 487 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Sleep.

    93.6% or 456 total occurrences were White.
    2.4% or 12 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    2% or 10 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.4% or 7 total occurrences were Asian.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Sleep' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2729

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Sleep' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1475

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Sleep' in Nouns Frequency: #1127

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Sleep' in Verbs Frequency: #302

How to pronounce Sleep?

How to say Sleep in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Sleep in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Sleep in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of Sleep in a Sentence

  1. Tianyi Huang:

    This sleep irregularity may be even more common among younger people, younger people may have more demands from study and from work, and those may also influence whether they can have a regular sleep pattern or not.

  2. Nick Littlehales:

    Although it's a very simple process, once focused on it you realize that you can actually be spending a lot of your valuable time wasting it trying to sleep.

  3. Tony Wright:

    The garden is a living thing. So it has its own flow. Sun comes up; the sun goes down. Plant responds to light; it responds to darkness. We do the same thing, the plant goes to sleep at night. What's my rest protocol look like? Am I up to 3 o'clock in the morning, or do I get a good night's rest?

  4. Clete Kushida:

    The data presented in the article provides convincing evidence that sleep promotes access to memory traces that may have been initially too weak to be retrieved.

  5. Alan Watts:

    Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Sleep

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"Sleep." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 26 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Sleep>.

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