sleeper

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

sleep +‎ -er

Noun[edit]

sleeper (plural sleepers)

  1. Someone who sleeps.
    I'm a light sleeper: I get woken up by the smallest of sounds.
    She's a heavy sleeper: it takes a lot to wake her up.
  2. That which lies dormant, as a law.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)
  3. A spy, saboteur, or terrorist who lives unobtrusively in a community until activated by a prearranged signal; may be part of a sleeper cell.
  4. A railroad sleeping car.
    We spent a night on an uncomfortable sleeper between Athens and Vienna.
  5. Something that achieves unexpected success after an interval of time.
    A box-office bomb when it first came out, the film was a sleeper, becoming much more popular decades after being released.
  6. A goby-like bottom-feeding freshwater fish of the family Odontobutidae.
  7. A nurse shark.
  8. A type of pajama for a person, especially a child, that covers the whole body, including the feet.
    Aaron, Devin, and Laura looked so comfy in their sleepers.
  9. (slang) An automobile which, not too quick out of the factory, has been internally modified to excess, while retaining a mostly stock appearance in order to fool opponents in a drag race, or to avoid the attention of the police.
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Etymology 2[edit]

Compare Norwegian sleip (a sleeper (a timber); as adjective, slippery, smooth). See slape.

Noun[edit]

sleeper (plural sleepers)

  1. (rail transport, UK) A railroad tie.
    The short wooden bars are sleepers, and the long metal bars are rails.
    • 1901, George Gipps, The Fighting in North China (up to the Fall of Tientsin City), Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, OL 23299616M, page 40:
      The train, minus the three abandoned trucks, again proceeded at a slow pace, with a pump trolley doing pilot ahead ; this was very necessary as a great many sleepers were found to have been burnt underneath the fishplates.
  2. (carpentry) A structural beam in a floor running perpendicular to both the joists beneath and floorboards above.
  3. (nautical) A heavy floor timber in a ship's bottom.
  4. (nautical) The lowest, or bottom, tier of casks.
Synonyms[edit]
  • (horizontal member that supports railway lines): tie (US)
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