asleep


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to asleep: fast asleep

dead asleep

In a deep, immovable sleep. I was dead asleep after my 12-hour shift; I didn't even hear the neighbor's car alarm going off!
See also: asleep, dead

fast asleep

In a deep, sound sleep. "Fast" in this instance means "secure or fixed firmly in place," rather than "moving quickly." I had an 18-hour shift at the warehouse, so I was fast asleep in no time when I finally got into bed.
See also: asleep, fast

be asleep at the wheel

To fail to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he was asleep at the wheel. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won that match if he hadn't been asleep at the wheel!
See also: asleep, wheel

fall asleep at the wheel

To fail to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he fell asleep at the wheel. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won that match if he hadn't fallen asleep at the wheel!
See also: asleep, fall, wheel

fall asleep at the switch

To fail to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he fell asleep at the switch. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won that match if he hadn't fallen asleep at the switch!
See also: asleep, fall, switch

catch a weasel asleep

To surprise someone who is normally alert, shrewd, or on-guard. Primarily heard in US. You want to try to steal your transcript from the principal's office? You never catch a weasel asleep—and especially not that one!
See also: asleep, catch, weasel

be asleep at the switch

To fail to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to not do or be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through on time before the deadline, but it looks like he was asleep at the switch. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won if he hadn't been asleep at the switch!
See also: asleep, switch

asleep at the switch

Failing to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; not doing or paying attention to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he was asleep at the switch.
See also: asleep, switch

asleep at the wheel

Failing to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; not doing or paying attention to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he was asleep at the wheel. We would have won if our goalie hadn't fallen asleep at the wheel!
See also: asleep, wheel

sound asleep

Sleeping deeply. You must have been sound asleep if you didn't hear me knock over the coat rack when I came home last night!
See also: asleep, sound

*asleep at the switch

Fig. not attending to one's job; failing to do one's duty at the proper time. (Alludes to a technician or engineer on a train sleeping instead of turning whatever switches are required. *Typically: be ~; fall ~.) The security guard fell asleep at the switch and a robber broke in. If I hadn't been asleep at the switch, I'd have noticed the car being stolen.
See also: asleep, switch

fall asleep

Fig. to go to sleep. I fell asleep while reading the very dull book. I got in bed and fell asleep at once.
See also: asleep, fall

sound asleep

completely asleep; in a deep sleep. I was sound asleep when the fire broke out.
See also: asleep, sound

asleep at the switch

Also, asleep at the wheel. Inattentive, not doing one's job, as in At the critical moment the watchman was asleep at the switch and only called the fire department when it was too late . This term came from 19th-century American railroading, when it was the trainman's duty to switch cars from one track to another by means of manually operated levers. Should he fail to do so, trains could collide. It was later transferred to any lack of alertness. The wheel in the variant is a steering wheel; similarly disastrous results are implied.
See also: asleep, switch

fall asleep

Go to sleep; also, cease paying attention. For example, As soon as the lights were dimmed he fell asleep, or His lectures are so dull that I fall asleep. The literal usage, which uses the verb fall in the sense of "succumb," dates from about 1300; the figurative is several centuries newer. Also see asleep at the switch.
See also: asleep, fall

be sleeping on the job

or

be asleep on the job

If someone is sleeping on the job or is asleep on the job, they are not paying attention to the things they should be doing. His arrest on suspicion of fraud proved that the other directors had been sleeping on the job. They accused ministers responsible for the new laws of being asleep on the job. Note: This expression is often varied. For example, you can also say that someone goes to sleep on the job or falls asleep on the job. When I got into the business, I found he had gone to sleep on the job. Was the publisher unable to afford an editor, or did he or she fall asleep on the job?
See also: job, on, sleep

asleep at the wheel

not attentive or alert; inactive. informal
The image here is of falling asleep while driving a car. A North American variant is asleep at the switch , which refers to the points lever or switch on a railway.
2003 Guardian Rowling has not been asleep at the wheel in the three years since the last Potter novel, and I am pleased to report that she has not confused sheer length with inspiration.
See also: asleep, wheel

fall asleep

die. euphemistic
See also: asleep, fall

asleep at the ˈwheel

(especially British English) (American English usually asleep at the ˈswitch) (informal) not paying attention to possible problems: The agency has been asleep at the wheel and has failed to enforce regulations.
This refers to someone falling asleep while driving a car or while operating a control on a train track.
See also: asleep, wheel

sound aˈsleep

deeply and peacefully asleep: He had fallen sound asleep in the chair by the fire.The children are sound asleep upstairs.
See also: asleep, sound

asleep at the switch

mod. inattentive to duty. (Not literal.) Donald was asleep at the switch when the call came in.
See also: asleep, switch
References in classic literature ?
She was fast asleep, and by her, seated on the window sill, was something that looked like a good-sized bird.
I looked at her throat just now as she lay asleep, and the tiny wounds seem not to have healed.
All the morbid reticence seems to have passed from her, and she has just reminded me, as if I needed any reminding, of that night, and that it was here, on this very seat, I found her asleep.
But David Swan had never worn a more tranquil aspect, even when asleep on his mother's breast.
Still Jerry was not satisfied, and he squirmed around until he lay in the hollow of Skipper's arm, his head resting on Skipper's shoulder, when, with a profound sigh of content, he fell asleep.
But it made the captain remember back across the years to his own girl babe asleep on his arm.
But, having visioned the ultimate horror of memory, Van Horn was soon able to fall asleep again, delightfully aware, as he drowsed off, of Jerry's head on his shoulder.
There he fell asleep, and while he slept, his wooden feet began to burn.
He was asleep on his back and breathing as placidly as a woman.
In the lower bunk lay Louis, grossly fat and warm and sweaty, asleep unfeignedly and sleeping laboriously.
demanded those who had been really asleep, and who had wakened to they knew not what.
Half asleep, he heard the laughter and mirthful talk of Veslovsky and Stepan Arkadyevitch.
She expected to see Jeremiah fast asleep or in a fit, but he was calmly seated in a chair, awake, and in his usual health.
For, Mr Flintwinch awake, was watching Mr Flintwinch asleep.
You have been asleep,' snarled Jeremiah, referring to his watch,