Intermediate+ Word of the Day: slumber

slumber (verb, noun) /ˈslʌmbɚ/ LISTEN

As a verb, slumber means ‘to sleep,’ especially ‘to sleep lightly or peacefully.’ Figuratively, it means ‘to be calm or in a state of inactivity.’ As a noun, slumber is a synonym for sleep, especially light sleep, and it is sometimes used in the plural form. It also describes a state of inactivity.

Example sentences

  • John was exhausted after a long day at work and he slumbered by the fire.
  • The volcanoes slumber, but no one knows when they might awaken.
  • Being woken from her slumbers put Lindsay in a bad mood.
  • The quiet town's slumber was disturbed by the arrival of the fair.

Words often used with slumber

slumber away: to pass a period of time by sleeping. Example: “During his illness, Oliver would often slumber away whole days.”

Did you know?

A slumber party is a party where people (normally children or young teenagers) dress in their nightclothes and stay up late eating snacks and talking. This can also be called a pajama (UK: pyjama) party, a sleepover, or a sleepover party.

In pop culture

Watch the slumber party scene from the movie Grease here:

Other forms

slumberer (noun), slumbering (adjective)


Slumber dates back to the early 13th century, in the form of the Middle English verb slumeren, a frequentative of the verb slumen (to doze), meant to convey the idea of light, intermittent sleep. It probably evolved from the Old English noun slūma (sleep), though its origin before then is uncertain. Slumber is related to the Middle Dutch slumen, the Dutch sluimeren and the German schlummern (all meaning ‘to slumber’). The figurative sense, ‘to be calm or inactive,’ first appeared in the early 14th century. The noun, meaning ‘a light sleep,’ dates back to the mid-14th century, and comes from the verb. The figurative sense, ‘a state of inactivity,’ has been used since the noun first appeared.

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