Not get a wink of sleep
Not have a wink of sleep
Meaning of Idiom ‘Not Sleep a Wink’
To not sleep a wink means to not sleep at all; to fail to fall asleep or get any sleep. 1Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
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This idiom is always used in the negative. One never says “I slept a wink.” As well, it is almost always used in the past tense or the present continuous tense. To hear “he is sleeping a wink” would sound odd. Instead, we say “he is asleep” or “he is sleeping.” However, both “I didn’t sleep a wink” and “I am not sleeping a wink, lately” are correct.
Examples Of Use
“The kids never sleep a wink on Christmas eve.”
“This interview has got me so anxious I couldn’t sleep a wink last night.”
“I’d like to go out later but first I need a nap. I haven’t slept a wink in the last 24 hours.”
“He didn’t get a wink of sleep before his trip, and sleeping on the plane was impossible.”
First recorded around 1325.
The word wink alludes to closing your eyes for sleep. Since a wink refers to closing your eyes for an instant, if you only sleep ‘for a wink’ you sleep for a very short time. 3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
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