American English

Definition of sleep noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable] the natural state of rest in which your eyes are closed, your body is not active, and your mind is not conscious I need to get some sleep. I didn't get much sleep last night. Can you give me something to help me get to sleep (= start sleeping)? Go to sleep—it's late. He cried out in his sleep. Anxiety can be caused by lack of sleep. His talk nearly sent me to sleep (= it was boring). Try to go back to sleep.
  2. 2[singular] a period of sleep Did you have a good sleep? Ron fell into a deep sleep. I'll feel better after a good night's sleep (= a night when I sleep well).
  3. 3[uncountable] (informal) the substance that sometimes forms in the corners of your eyes after you have been sleeping Ted rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
  4. Idioms
    be able to do something in your sleep (informal)
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    to be able to do something very easily because you have done it many times before I haven't done many portraits, but I could paint landscapes in my sleep.
    go to sleep (informal)
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    if part of your body goes to sleep, you lose the sense of feeling in it, usually because it has been in the same position for too long My foot went to sleep.
    not get/have a wink of sleep, not sleep a wink
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    to not be able to sleep I didn't get a wink of sleep last night. I hardly slept a wink.
    not lose sleep/lose no sleep over something
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    to not worry much about something It's not worth losing sleep over.
    put somebody to sleep (informal)
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    to make someone unconscious before an operation by using drugs (called ananesthetic)
    put something to sleep
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    to kill a sick or injured animal by giving it drugs so that it dies without pain. People sayput to sleepto avoid sayingkill.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: sleep