Sally M (sallymn) wrote in 1word1day,
Sally M

Sunday Word: Somnolent

somnolent [som-nuh-luhnt]

1 of a kind likely to induce sleep
2 inclined to or heavy with sleep; drowsy


Despite the promising setup, however, the film never achieves any narrative momentum; even its frequent violent episodes barely make an impression. That may be partly due to cinematographer Nicholas Wiesnet's oppressively dark visuals (most of the story takes place at night), which tend to produce an unnecessarily somnolent effect. (Frank Scheck, 'Inherit the Viper': Film Review, Hollywood Reporter, January 2020)

Her approach is admiring but oddly withdrawn. She is prone to parroting her thesis and lapsing into somnolent praise. (Parul Sehgal, What Made Leonardo Such a Great Artist? Science, Says a New Book, The New York Times, December 2020)

When they had passed the little town of Stourcastle, dumbly somnolent under its thick brown thatch, they reached higher ground. (Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles)

I sent below the second mate and his watch and remained in charge, walking the deck through the chill, somnolent hours that precede the dawn. (Joseph Conrad, The Shadow Line)


mid-15c, sompnolent, from Old French sompnolent (Modern French somnolent) or directly from Latin somnolentus 'sleepy, drowsy,' from somnus 'sleep' (from PIE root swep- 'to sleep'). Respelled 17c on Latin model. (Online Etymology Dictionary)

Somnolent first appeared in the late 15th century in the redundant phrase 'somnolent sleep.' It came into English by way of Anglo-French from the Latin word somnolentus, which itself comes from somnus, meaning 'sleep.' Another offspring of somnus is somnambulism, a synonym of sleepwalking. Insomnia is also a member of this sleepy word family, though it might be considered the black sheep, since it means, of course, 'the inability to sleep.' (Merriam-Webster)

Tags: adjective, anglo-french, latin, old french, s, wordsmith: sallymn

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