a‧sleep S2 [not before noun]
sleeping [≠ awake]:
Quiet! The baby's asleep.
fast/sound asleep (=sleeping deeply)
to begin to sleep:
Grandad fell asleep watching TV.
One in seven road accidents is caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel (=fall asleep while driving).
used to mean that someone dies, when you want to avoid saying this directly
very tired or not completely awake:
Still half asleep, Jenny began to make the kids' breakfast.
an arm or leg that is asleep has been in one position for too long, so you cannot feel it properly
not paying attention to a situation, so that something bad happens:
Several publishers were asleep at the switch, and missed the book's potential.
➔ go to sleepat sleep2 (3) ➔ see usage note sleep1WORD CHOICE:
sleep, asleepYou usually use be asleep rather than 'be sleeping' • Her parents were already asleep (NOT already slept/were sleeping).The verb sleep is used when you are giving more information, for example about how long someone sleeps or where they sleep • The baby sleeps for 12 hours. • He slept in the car.You usually say fall asleep, not 'start sleeping' • Some students fall asleep (NOT start sleeping/start to sleep) at their desks.!! Do not say 'feel asleep'. You can also say someone goes to sleep, especially when they are in bed and want to sleep • I turned the light out and went to sleep.You use get to sleep when someone has difficulty falling asleep • It took me hours to get to sleep. ➔ See also sleep