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From Middle English slombren, slomren, frequentative of Middle English slummen, slumen (to doze), probably from Middle English slume (slumber), from Old English slūma, from Proto-Germanic *slūm- (slack, loose, limp, flabby), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)lew- (loose, limp, flabby), equivalent to sloom +‎ -er. Cognate with West Frisian slommerje, slûmerje (to slumber), Dutch sluimeren (to slumber), German schlummern (to slumber, doze).



slumber (plural slumbers)

  1. A very light state of sleep, almost awake.
  2. (figurative) A state of ignorance or inaction.
    • 2009, Ben-Ami Scharfstein, Art without borders: a philosophical exploration of art and humanity
      Marcel Duchamp's urinal and readymades seemed in the beginning to be insider jokes or jokelike paradoxes meant to awaken people from their aesthetic slumbers.
  3. (rare, as used by Magnavox clock radios) The snooze button on an alarm clock.

Derived termsEdit



slumber (third-person singular simple present slumbers, present participle slumbering, simple past and past participle slumbered)

  1. (intransitive) To be in a very light state of sleep, almost awake.
  2. (intransitive) To be inactive or negligent.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To lay to sleep.
    • 1642, Henry Wotton, A Short View of the Life and Death of George Villers, Duke of Buckingham
      slumber his conscience
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To stun; to stupefy.


See alsoEdit