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[sluhm-ber] /ˈslʌm bər/
verb (used without object)
to sleep, especially lightly; doze; drowse.
to be in a state of inactivity, negligence, quiescence, or calm:
Vesuvius is slumbering.
verb (used with object)
to spend or pass (time) in slumbering (often followed by away, out, or through):
to slumber the afternoon away.
to dispel or forget by slumbering (often followed by away):
to slumber cares away.
Sometimes, slumbers. sleep, especially light sleep.
a period of sleep, especially light sleep.
a state of inactivity, quiescence, etc.
Origin of slumber
1175-1225; (v.) Middle English slumeren, frequentative of slumen to doze, derivative of Old English slūma sleep (see -er6); compare German schlummern; (noun) Middle English slomur, slomber, derivative of the v.
Related forms
slumberer, noun
slumberless, adjective
unslumbering, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for slumbering
Historical Examples
  • The poem seems to indicate that Urania, slumbering, is not yet aware of the death of Adonais.

    Adonais Shelley
  • He dozed, and it seemed to him that all the world was slumbering.

  • And they talked about it nearly the whole night, slumbering only a few hours.

    Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales Hans Christian Andersen
  • It was a signal that awakened all the slumbering passions of a nation.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • There was confidence to be got from a mere look at that slumbering Jovian form.

    The Sea and the Jungle H. M. Tomlinson
  • And with a cry of delight he ran towards the slumbering Portly.

    The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
  • Undetected by a single human witness, without interruption from slumbering master or lazy hind, the total deed was done.

  • He had been there for hours watching his slumbering comrade.

    Burlesques William Makepeace Thackeray
  • The day dawned quietly, and shed a sort of still, holy light over the slumbering man.

    Fashion and Famine Ann S. Stephens
  • Of a certainty Gloy was not slumbering, and Gloy was not there!

    Viking Boys Jessie Margaret Edmondston Saxby
British Dictionary definitions for slumbering


(intransitive) to sleep, esp peacefully
(intransitive) to be quiescent or dormant
(transitive) foll by away. to spend (time) sleeping
(sometimes pl) sleep
a dormant or quiescent state
Derived Forms
slumberer, noun
slumberless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English slūma sleep (n); related to Middle High German slummeren, Dutch sluimeren
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 slumbering



mid-14c. alteration of slumeren (mid-13c.), frequentative form of slumen "to doze," probably from Old English sluma "light sleep" (cf. Middle Dutch slumen, Dutch sluimeren, German schlummern "to slumber"). Frequentative on the notion of "intermittent light sleep." For the -b-, cf. number, lumber, chamber, etc. Related: Slumbered; slumbering.


mid-14c., from slumber (v.). Slumber party first recorded 1942. Slumberland is from 1875.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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