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Rip Van Winkle

[rip van wing-kuh l] /ˌrɪp væn ˈwɪŋ kəl/
noun
1.
(in a story by Washington Irving) a ne'er-do-well who sleeps 20 years and upon waking is startled to find how much the world has changed.
2.
(italics) the story itself, published in The Sketch Book (1819).
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Rip Van Winkle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Or by chance was he another Rip Van Winkle, doomed to find the colonists aged or dead?

    Eight Keys to Eden Mark Irvin Clifton
  • Who made up the "we" in this firm of Rip Van Winkle bankers?

  • It was in 1859 that he reverted to the subject of Rip Van Winkle, as the right theme for his dramatic purpose.

    Shadows of the Stage William Winter
  • Rip Van Winkle--the man: his characteristics, habits, family.

  • Jefferson found in Rip Van Winkle his fit, and has been wise enough never to leave it.

  • Talk about Rip Van Winkle, why, he is not in it with this fellow.

    My Strangest Case Guy Boothby
  • He had gone back to his former state of fuzziness, and looked more like Rip Van Winkle than ever.

    Our Elizabeth Florence A. Kilpatrick
  • (for instance) from a story of the quality of Rip Van Winkle.

    Adventures in Criticism Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • On the other hand, we lose ourselves in the quiet humor of Rip Van Winkle merely for entertainment through appreciation.

    The Silent Readers William D. Lewis
British Dictionary definitions for Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle

/ˈrɪp væn ˈwɪŋkəl/
noun (informal)
1.
a person who is oblivious to changes, esp in social attitudes or thought
2.
a person who sleeps a lot
Word Origin
C19: from a character who slept for 20 years, in a story (1819) by Washington Irving (1783–1859), US writer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Rip Van Winkle

"person out of touch with current conditions," 1829, from name of character in Washington Irving's "Sketch Book" (1819-20).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Rip Van Winkle in Culture

“Rip Van Winkle” definition


(1819) A story by Washington Irving. The title character goes to sleep after a game of bowling and much drinking in the mountains with a band of dwarves. He awakens twenty years later, an old man. Back home, Rip finds that all has changed: his wife is dead, his daughter is married, and the American Revolutionary War has taken place.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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