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From Middle English aslepe, equivalent to a- (in, on) +‎ sleep.



asleep (comparative more asleep, superlative most asleep)

A camel asleep (1)
  1. In a state of sleep; also, broadly, resting.
    I was asleep when you called.
    Never disturb a man asleep.
  2. (slang) Inattentive.
    How could you miss that? Were you asleep?
  3. (of a body part) Having a numb or prickling sensation accompanied by a degree of unresponsiveness.
    My arm fell asleep. You know, like pins and needles.
    • 2003, Norma L. Bronoski, Nuns Don't Dance:
      Louisa sat in the car crying, until her foot fell asleep. She shook her foot violently, afraid the numbness would turn to frostbite.
  4. (euphemistic) Dead.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Not used in attributive position; sleeping is used instead.
    That dog is asleep. — Where is the sleeping dog?


Derived terms[edit]


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See also[edit]