from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A brief sleep, often during the day.
  • intransitive v. To sleep for a brief period, often during the day; doze.
  • intransitive v. To be unaware of imminent danger or trouble; be off guard: The civil unrest caught the police napping.
  • n. A soft or fuzzy surface on fabric or leather.
  • transitive v. To form or raise a soft or fuzzy surface on (fabric or leather).
  • transitive v. To pour or put a sauce or gravy over (a cooked dish): "a stuffed veal chop napped with an elegant Port sauce” ( Jay Jacobs).
  • n. A card game that resembles whist.
  • n. The highest bid in this game, announcing the intention to win five tricks, the maximum number in a hand. Also called napoleon.
  • n. See napoleon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A short period of sleep, especially one during the day
  • v. to have a nap; to sleep for a short period of time, especially during the day
  • v. to be off one's guard
  • n. A soft or fuzzy surface on fabric or leather.
  • v. to form or raise a soft or fuzzy surface on (fabric or leather)
  • n. A type of bet in British horse racing, based on the experts' best tips
  • n. A card game in which players take tricks; properly Napoleon
  • v. to grab; to nab
  • v. To cover (something) with a sauce (usually in passive)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A short sleep; a doze; a siesta.
  • n. Woolly or villous surface of felt, cloth, plants, etc.; an external covering of down, of short fine hairs or fibers forming part of the substance of anything, and lying smoothly in one direction; the pile.
  • n. The loops which are cut to make the pile, in velvet.
  • n. Same as napoleon, 1, below.
  • intransitive v. To have a short sleep; to be drowsy; to doze.
  • intransitive v. To be in a careless, secure state; to be unprepared.
  • transitive v. To raise, or put, a nap on.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To have a short sleep; be drowsy.
  • To detect in the very act: hence the phrase in the quotation.
  • To raise or put a nap on.
  • To seize; grasp.
  • To strike.
  • To cheat.
  • n. A short sleep.
  • n. The woolly or villous substance on the surface of cloth, felt, or other fabric.
  • n. Some covering resembling the nap of cloth.
  • n. A felted cloth used in polishing glass, marble, etc.
  • n. plural The loops of the warp in uncut velvet, which, when cut, form tho pile.
  • n. Dress; form; presentation.
  • n. A beaker.
  • n. A knob; a protuberance; the top of a hill.
  • n. An abbreviated form of napoleon, 2.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the yarn (as in a rug or velvet or corduroy) that stands up from the weave
  • n. a card game similar to whist; usually played for stakes
  • v. take a siesta
  • n. a period of time spent sleeping
  • n. a soft or fuzzy surface texture
  • n. sleeping for a short period of time (usually not in bed)


Middle English, from nappen, to doze, from Old English hnappian.
Alteration (perhaps influenced by obsolete French nape, tablecloth) of Middle English noppe, from Middle Dutch.
French napper, from nappe, cover; see nappe.
Short for napoleon.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English nappen, from Old English hnappian ("to doze, slumber, sleep"), from Proto-Germanic *hnappōnan (“to nap”). Cognate with Old High German hnaffezan, hnaffezzan (> Middle High German nafzen ("to slumber") > German dialectal napfezen, nafzen ("to nod, slumber, nap")). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English nappe, from Middle Dutch (Wiktionary)
possibly Scandanavian, cognate with nab, see Swedish nappa ("pinch") (Wiktionary)
From French napper, from nappe ("nape"). (Wiktionary)



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  • My mother buried three husbands - and two of them were only napping.
    Rita Rudner

    March 15, 2008

  • Pan in reverse.

    November 3, 2007

  • Contronymic in the sense: stand up (e.g., nap of a rug) vs. lay down.

    January 27, 2007