Definition of sleeper in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsliːpə/


1A person or animal who is asleep or who sleeps in a specified way: he was a light sleeper, for long periods an insomniac
More example sentences
  • As a light sleeper, I can only struggle now to find better ear-plugs, or hope to sleep with my window forever open and get used to the outside noises as well.
  • I'm usually a light sleeper in unfamiliar situations, so it's not surprising that I would be a little jumpy.
  • He came through the front door and was surprised that she still didn't come to, since she was a light sleeper.
2A thing used for or connected with sleeping, in particular:
Example sentences
  • A friend's first experience on a sleeper last week got him to London four hours late.
  • The train, which has seven second-class sleeper with a pantry car, has 504 seats.
  • My experience of sleeper trains spans the globe from Finland to Australia.
2.1A train carrying sleeping cars: we were waiting for the Inverness-London sleeper [as modifier]: a sleeper train
More example sentences
  • A special sleeper train service had been put on; it pulled into York station at 3.32 am, and deposited excited royalists at King's Cross at 7.39 am.
  • The £465 per person price includes seven nights' hotel accommodation, one night on a sleeper train, breakfast each day and the services of an experienced guide.
  • He caught a sleeper train from Cairo to Aden in The Yemen.
2.2A sleeping car, or a berth in one.
Example sentences
  • At the same time, the elimination of the sleeper berths would mean that a daylight passenger configuration of 21 to 24 seats could be planned.
2.3 informal A sleeping pill: he gave me tranquillizers in addition to the sleepers I was already on
More example sentences
  • Also not uncommon was psychological instability resulting from the then common practice of "sleeper" medication.
  • I took the sleeper pill last night and I slept a dreamless sleep.
2.4 (usually sleepers) chiefly North American A sleepsuit for a baby or small child.
Example sentences
  • Take one pair of child's sleepers and soak it in warm water.
  • Knitted fabrics, such as those used in T-shirts, sweatshirts, infant sleepers and sportswear, are examples of unstable fabrics.
  • Now I want to give you a description, I know we put the picture up, but the little boy has black hair, brown eyes, and he was last seen - there he is right there - wearing a red sleeper.
2.5North American A sofa or chair that converts into a bed.
Example sentences
  • Both kinds come in models that can fit either regular sofas or sleepers, as well as easy chairs.
  • A sleeper sofa is the solution chosen by most people in studios, but this limits your options in terms of design, and unmaking and re-making the bed every day can be enough to wear you out.
  • That night Daniel didn't sleep with me; he slept on the sleeper sofa.
3A film, book, play, etc. that eventually achieves unexpected success after initially attracting very little attention: this low-budget, black-and-white American sleeper concerns two brothers [as modifier]: it became one of the sleeper hits of the year
More example sentences
  • Just as the initial comic book issue became a sleeper success, so too has the silver screen Spider-Man.
  • The film was a sleeper hit and even spawned a low-budget sequel.
  • Avoiding a quiet sleeper of a film like this merely deprives you of an exciting movie experience.
3.1An antique whose true value goes unrecognized for some time: photographed after it proved to be a sleeper, this Regency table took £8,600 instead of £1,500 as anticipated
More example sentences
  • Dealers and collectors love to find a sleeper, and one such is illustrated here.
  • Although we were unable to make out a signature, there is a possibility this antique painting could be a genuine sleeper and a real investment for a lucky buyer.
3.2 (also sleeper agent) A secret agent who remains inactive for a long period while establishing a secure position: a KGB plot to uncover his sleepers
More example sentences
  • A staple of the Cold War espionage novels that used to populate best-seller lists was the sleeper agent.
  • He was inserted as a sleeper agent five years ago.
  • Since Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, took the helm in the Kremlin, Russian intelligence networks in central and western Europe have been rebuilt and secret service sleepers activated.
4British A ring or post worn in a pierced ear to keep the hole from closing.
Example sentences
  • There was a brief twinge of pain as she squeezed a sleeper through the needle hole.
  • The man was also wearing a 9ct gold necklace and a gold sleeper earring in his left ear.
  • She clicks on the customer list, pulls up the database of 13,000 stock items, checks availability and starts adding in quantities for rings, studs and sleepers.
5British A wooden or concrete beam laid transversely under railway track to support it.
Example sentences
  • In this case, existing landscape determined the form of the track, not the other way around, and great attention was paid to the design of rails, sleepers and trains to reduce noise.
  • Supplies such as ballast, rails and sleepers are moved to the site by train.
  • Trains, protected by railway sleepers and metal plates, were used - also in the Franco-Prussian war when four were fitted out to defend Paris during the siege.
6A stocky fish with mottled coloration which occurs widely in warm seas and fresh water.
  • Dormitator and other genera, family Gobiidae (or Eleotridae): many species. See also cockabully.
Example sentences
  • Most fish species cannot tolerate such fluctuations, but some gobies and sleepers have adapted physiologically in ways that have enabled them to thrive.
  • Yet most gobies and many sleepers in the world are marine.
  • They are commonly known as sleepers, or gudgeons in Australia and New Guinea, and in New Zealand they are called bullies.

Words that rhyme with sleeper

Arequipa, beeper, bleeper, creeper, Dnieper, keeper, leaper, peeper, reaper, sweeper, weeper

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sleep¦er

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