First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Sleeper

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Sleeper mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Sleeper

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Sleep"er
  1. One who sleeps; a slumberer; hence, a drone, or lazy person.
  2. That which lies dormant, as a law.(Obs)
  3. A sleeping car.(Colloq. U.S)
  4. [Zoöl] An animal that hibernates, as the bear.
  5. [Zoöl]
    1. A large fresh-water gobioid fish (Eleotris dormatrix).
    2. A nurse shark. See under Nurse.
noun Sleep"er
Something lying in a reclining posture or position.One of the pieces of timber, stone, or iron, on or near the level of the ground, for the support of some superstructure, to steady framework, to keep in place the rails of a railway, etc.; a stringpiece.One of the joists, or roughly shaped timbers, laid directly upon the ground, to receive the flooring of the ground story.One of the knees which connect the transoms to the after timbers on the ship's quarter.The lowest, or bottom, tier of casks.

Etymology: Cf. Norw. sleip a sleeper (a timber), as adj., slippery, smooth. See Slape

Other Dictionary Sources
  1. An unexpected hit ("that movie was the sleeper of the summer")
  2. Tropical fish that resembles a goby and rests quietly on the bottom in shallow water
  3. A piece of furniture that can be opened up into a bed
  4. Pajamas with feet; worn by children
  5. A passenger car that has berths for sleeping
  6. One of the cross braces that support the rails on a railway track ("the British call a railroad tie a sleeper")
  7. A rester who is sleeping
  8. An unexpected achiever of success ("the winner was a true sleeper--no one expected him to get it")
  9. A spy or saboteur or terrorist planted in an enemy country who lives there as a law-abiding citizen until activated by a prearranged signal

sleep +‎ -er

  1. Someone who sleeps.
    I'm a light : I get woken up by the smallest of sounds.
    She's a heavy : it takes a lot to wake her up.
  2. That which lies dormant, as a law.
  3. A spy, saboteur, or terrorist who lives unobtrusively in a community until activated by a prearranged signal; may be part of a sleeper cell.
  4. A railroad sleeping car.
    We spent a night on an uncomfortable between Athens and Vienna.
  5. Something that achieves unexpected success after an interval of time.
    A box-office bomb when it first came out, the film was a , becoming much more popular decades after being released.
  6. A goby-like bottom-feeding freshwater fish of the family Odontobutidae.
  7. A nurse shark (family Ginglymostomatidae).
  8. A type of pajama for a person, especially a child, that covers the whole body, including the feet.
    Aaron, Devin, and Laura looked so comfy in their .
  9. (slang) An automobile which, not too quick out of the factory, has been internally modified to excess, while retaining a mostly stock appearance in order to fool opponents in a drag race, or to avoid the attention of the police.
  10. (slang) A sedative.
  11. A small starter earring.

Compare Norwegian sleip (“a sleeper (a timber); as adjective, slippery, smooth”). See slape.

  1. (rail transport, Britain) A railroad tie.
    The short wooden bars are , and the long metal bars are rails.
  2. (carpentry) A structural beam in a floor running perpendicular to both the joists beneath and floorboards above.
  3. (nautical) A heavy floor timber in a ship's bottom.
  4. (nautical) The lowest, or bottom, tier of casks.

    Notable Persons Named Sleeper


    Sleeper Sullivan was a baseball. Sleeper was born in 1959. Sleeper is also known as Sullivan, Thomas Jefferson; Sullivan, and Old Iron Hands. He breathed his last breath on October 13th, 1909.


    Notable Persons With the Last Name Sleeper

    Grim was born on August 30th, 1952 in Los Angeles.



    Martha Sleeper was an actress. Her most notable accomplishments were from 1923 to 1945. Martha was born Martha Sleeper on June 24th, 1910 in Lake Bluff, Illinois, U.S. She left this life on March 25th, 1983.


    Jim was born on June 6th, 1947. Jim is also known as Sleeper and James A..


    Albert Edson Sleeper was a Governor of Michigan, Treasurer of Michigan, and Michigan State Treasurer. He was most active from 1917 to 1921. Albert was born on December 31st, 1862 in Bradford, Vermont. He passed away on May 13th, 1934.


    Thomas Sleeper is a composer. He was most prominent from 1975 to present. Thomas was born Thomas Sleeper on February 16th, 1956 in Wagoner, Oklahoma, U.S.


    Where is the name Sleeper popular?

    View popular names by state or region.

    Popularity of Sleeper as a last name

    The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Sleeper as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Massachusetts, Michigan, or California.

    Common first names for Sleeper

    Ethnicity Distribution

    Ethnicity Sleeper U.S.
      White 90.00% 64.26%
      African American 1.35% 11.96%
      Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.54% 4.85%
      American Indian and Alaska Native 3.58% 0.69%
      Two or More Ethnicities 2.04% 1.76%
      Hispanic or Latino 2.50% 16.26%

    Of Last Name Sleeper

    People with the last name Sleeper are most frequently White

    Entire United States

    Fun Facts about the name Sleeper

    • How Popular is the name Sleeper? As a last name Sleeper was the 12,012th most popular name in 2010.
    • How unique is the name Sleeper? Out of 5,933,561 records in the U.S. Social Security Administration public data, the first name Sleeper was not present. It is possible the name you are searching has less than five occurrences per year.
    • Weird things about the name Sleeper: Your name in reverse order is Repeels. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Eperesl. How do you pronounce that?
    • How many people have the last name Sleeper? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 2,599 people with the last name Sleeper.
    • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Sleeper? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Sleeper as their last name since less than 1 person in 114k people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

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    • Sources:
    • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
    • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
    • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
    • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
    • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.