wide awake and sound asleep

Discuss word origins and meanings.
Post Reply

wide awake and sound asleep

Post by Archived Topic » Sun Nov 28, 2004 3:53 am

Why are we WIDE awake. And SOUND asleep....it doesn't seem to make any sense to me.
Submitted by Gillian Gardner (Melbourne - Australia)
Post actions:
Signature: Topic imported and archived

wide awake and sound asleep

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 4:08 am

Gillian, Interesting question and I would add to the list ‘fast asleep.’

WIDE-AWAKE or WIDE AWAKE, meaning fully awake, comes from the idea of being awake with the eyes ‘wide open.’ The expression has been around since the early 19th century and is also used figuratively to mean on the alert, watchful, vigilant, sharp, quick, keen, knowing, astute.
<1818 “Will lie and watch ye from my winding-sheet—Thus . . . WIDE AWAKE tho' dead [etc.].” ‘Julian and Maddalo’ by Percy Shelly, I. page 392>

<1840 “The baby, who was dreadfully WIDE AWAKE.”—‘Old Curiosity Shop’ by Dickens, xxxix>

<1906 “Foreign capitalists will not advance it . . . still less would the very WIDEAWAKE Chinese merchant.”—‘Spectator,’ 18 August, page 222/2>
SOUND ASLEEP means sleeping ‘soundly,’ enjoying deep, unbroken, undisturbed, or untroubled sleep, where ‘sound’ here means in a sound manner, from the idea of being firm, solid, free from defect or damage. The expression ‘to sleep sound’ has been around from at least the early 15th century and the expression ‘sound sleep’ was first used by Shakespeare in the late 16th century.
<1592 “How SOUND is she A SLEEPE? I must needs wake her.”—Romeo & Juliet, IV. v.>

<1821 “He may be found SOUND ASLEEP on his feather-bed.”—‘Kenilworth’ by Scott, i>
FAST ASLEEP has the same meaning as ‘sound asleep,’ with the word ‘fast’ here meaning firmly fixed in its place, not easily moved or shaken, settled, stable – thus ‘fixed’ in sleep.
<1767 “She . . . gave Susy such a douse on the side of the head as left her FAST ASLEEP for an hour and upward.”—‘The Fool of Quality’ by Brooke (1859), I. page 82 (D.)>
(Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s and Random House Unabridged Dictionaries)
_____________________

Ken G – October 1, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

wide awake and sound asleep

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 4:22 am

So if you're fast asleep you can't have just dropped off.
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

wide awake and sound asleep

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 4:37 am

But if you've dropped off you must have fallen asleep.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

wide awake and sound asleep

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 4:51 am

You have to fall fast for us to hear the sound!
Reply from Gary Wallington (Akolele - Australia)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

wide awake and sound asleep

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 5:20 am

I can think of a major U.S. official running for reelection this fall who, to coin a phrase relevant to our discussion, could be aptly described as WIDE ASLEEP at the helm.

Ken G – October 2, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

wide awake and sound asleep

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 5:34 am

Nothing is as energising to a politician who is facing a fall re-election as the imminent prospect of being voted into compulsory hibernation. Or in this case, a waking coma.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

wide awake and sound asleep

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 5:49 am

(That's when you don't even know which of the dazes of the weak you're in.)
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

wide awake and sound asleep

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 6:17 am

FAST ASLEEP has the same meaning as ‘sound asleep,’ with the word ‘fast’ here meaning firmly fixed in its place, not easily moved or shaken, settled, stable – thus ‘fixed’ in sleep.

<1767 “She . . . gave Susy such a douse on the side of the head as left her FAST ASLEEP for an hour and upward.”—‘The Fool of Quality’ by Brooke (1859), I. page 82 (D.)>

(Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s and Random House Unabridged Dictionaries)

As you say Ken, "fastly".

Repeating, I know.
Reply from Xinch ( - Ireland)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Re: wide awake and sound asleep

Post by scotty44 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:51 pm

My wife has "sounds of sleep", so when I hear her breathing, sometimes snoring, I say she is "sound asleep".
Post actions:

Re: wide awake and sound asleep

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:54 am

That is very clever Scotty. But then what else would you expect from a Highland man.

WoZ on the bagpipes
Post actions:
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

End of topic.
Post Reply