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[som-nuh-luh nt] /ˈsɒm nə lənt/
sleepy; drowsy.
tending to cause sleep.
Origin of somnolent
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English sompnolent < Old French < Latin somnolentus, derivative of somnus sleep; see -ulent
Related forms
somnolence, somnolency, noun
somnolently, adverb
hypersomnolence, noun
hypersomnolent, adjective
hypersomnolently, adverb
semisomnolence, noun
semisomnolent, adjective
semisomnolently, adverb
unsomnolent, adjective
unsomnolently, adverb
1. slumberous. 2. somniferous, soporific. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for somnolent
  • The somnolent mind of the platypus is no joking matter.
  • Tension created in a somnolent setting is key to how this novel works.
  • McCartney's last several musical efforts have been exercises in somnolent pop.
  • The prospect of the stage play translated for television has long made me somnolent.
  • It struck the perfect tone: half festive, half somnolent.
  • It is not this mechanism, however, that makes people drowsy and starts them on the somnolent slide.
  • Although the teachers and the students' mothers expect him to marry, he remains an aloof, somnolent bachelor.
  • The somnolent tigers, however, remain safely ensconced in their cages.
  • On the morning following admission, she was found to be somnolent and minimally arousable.
  • The next morning, the subject was somnolent upon arrival to clinic and was hospitalized for further evaluation.
British Dictionary definitions for somnolent


drowsy; sleepy
causing drowsiness
Derived Forms
somnolence, somnolency, noun
somnolently, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin somnus sleep
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 somnolent

mid-15c., sompnolent, from Old French sompnolent (Modern French somnolent) or directly from Latin somnolentus "sleepy, drowsy," from somnus "sleep" (see Somnus). Respelled 17c. on Latin model.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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somnolent in Medicine

somnolent som·no·lent (sŏm'nə-lənt)

  1. Drowsy; sleepy.

  2. Inducing or tending to induce sleep; soporific.

  3. In a condition of incomplete sleep; semicomatose.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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