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A nap or a brief sleep. When you have a baby for the first time, you are suddenly forced to learn how to operate on only forty winks at a time. I'm going to go grab a quick forty winks before everyone starts arriving for the dinner party.
Fig. a nap; some sleep. I could use forty winks before I have to get to work. I need forty winks before I get started again.
A brief nap, as in There's just time for forty winks before we have to leave. This expression supposedly was first recorded in 1828 and relies on wink in the sense of "sleep," a usage dating from the 14th century.
forty winksOLD-FASHIONED, INFORMAL
If you have forty winks, you have a short sleep. He always has forty winks after supper.
forty winksa short sleep or nap, especially during the day. informal
This expression dates from the early 19th century, but wink in the sense of ‘a closing of the eyes for sleep’ is found from the late 14th century.
forty ˈwinks(informal) a short sleep, especially during the day: I managed to get forty winks after lunch.
n. a nap; sleep. (Usually with a quantifier. Either forty or some, a few, a bunch of, etc.) I could use forty winks before I have to get to work.
A short nap. A wink has meant a sleep since the fourteenth century, when William Langland wrote “Thenne Wakede I of my wink” (Piers Ploughman, 1377). There is an apocryphal story about the origin of forty winks, stemming from an article in Punch (1872), the English humor magazine, about the long and tedious articles of faith required for Church of England clergy (“If a man, after reading through the thirty-nine Articles, were to take forty winks . . .”). However appealing this source, the term had appeared in print nearly a half-century earlier (in Pierce Egan’s Tom and Jerry, 1828), and its true origin has apparently been lost.