June 12, 2012
somnolent (adjective)
\SAHM-nuh-lunt\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : showing signs of not being fully awake2 : of a kind likely to induce sleep
How do you use it?
"I am no whit somnolent; I always hear best with my eyes shut."
Are you a word wiz?

We hope you're wide awake and can tell us which writer we've quoted in our example sentence using "somnolent."

You weren't nodding off if you picked D. The renowned Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott wrote the quoted line in 1819. Scott wasn't the inventor of the word "somnolent," though. It goes back to the late 15th century -- its first known appearance was in the redundant phrase "somnolent sleep." "Somnolent" came into English through French. The French took it from the Latin word "somnolentus," from "somnus," meaning "sleep." Other members of this sleepy word family are "somnambulism," a hard word for sleepwalking, and "insomnia," which is the inability to sleep.
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