Middle English Dictionary Entry

slẹ̄pen v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. forslepen v.
(a) To sleep, be asleep; (b) ~ as a beste (a swin, hogges, swin); ~ drie (wet), to sleep in a dry (wet) place; ~ faste (kindeli, sadli, savourli, seurli, soft, sound, soundli, swote, swoteli, wel) [see also faste adv. 9.(c)]; ~ ful mi beli, sleep as much as I want; ~ in hod, ?sleep outdoors; ~ in irenes, sleep in (one's) armor; ~ in pes; ~ lik a ded man; (c) ~ lien, lien (and) ~, to lie asleep; ~ slep (nappinge), have a sleep; ~ no slep, not to sleep; ~ with eie (closed; ~ with open eie, ?sleep very lightly; ne ~ a (onlepi) wink; waken..~; ppl. sleped, asleep; ppl. slepinge, asleep, while asleep; also fig.; also, as noun: a person asleep; slepinge ben, be asleep; slepinge lien, lie sleeping; half slepinge half wakinge; slepinge and risinge (wakinge), wakinge and (ne) slepinge; (d) ~ on (mount of) parnaso, to learn rhetoric; ~ upon, sleep with (some preoccupation) in mind; ~ with dedli sinne, sleep in a state of sin; leten sinne ~ with the, allow yourself to sleep without repenting of your sin; (e) to rest, repose; be lodged, be fixed, remain; also fig.
(a) To fall asleep, get to sleep; (b) ben gon to ~, to have gone to sleep; ben leid to ~, have lain down to sleep, have gone to bed; also fig.; don (geren) ~, make (sb.) go to sleep, get (sb.) to sleep; gon (to) ~, wenden to (for to) ~, yeden to ~, go to sleep, fall asleep, go to bed; leien for to ~, lay (oneself, one's body) down to sleep; leien (doun) to ~, refl. lay oneself down to sleep; lien to (for to) ~, lie down, go to sleep; leid to ~, of fruit: in storage.
To have sexual intercourse; ~ bi (bi side, with), sleep with (sb.); ~ hole bi hole, sleep together; ~ in arm, ~ under gore.
(a) To be inactive, be inoperative; lapse, fail; of land: lie fallow; of money: remain unused; of seed: lie dormant; leten ~, leave (a subject) unexamined; ppl. slepinge, stagnant; chirche slepinge, the church suffering, in purgatory; (b) to be negligent, be careless, be lazy; ~ from, ignore (worldly desires), neglect (good deeds); ~ in sinne (ivel, etc.); ~ in slouthe, be lazy; ~ o the develes barm, ~ on soules deth, continue heedlessly in sin; (c) to become numb, be insensitive; (d) to lie dead, be dead; ~ drie (dreri, ever-duringe) slep; ppl. slepinge, dead; also, as noun: the dead; (e) to neglect (some business).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1475(?a1430) Lydg.Pilgr.(Vit C.13)9044 : Al hys desyrs thow pursues, Somwhyle to lede hym to the stewes…And to leyn hym sofftely On ffether beddys…ffor to slepe hys vndermel.
Note: In phrase ~ under-mele, may be variously construed as, e.g., 'doze away (one's afternoon)' or 'take (a nap)', in either case most conveniently placed under sense 1.(c).