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Overslept — or forgotten? The verb verschlafen

Most of you hopefully know the German verb schlafen (to sleep), but are you familiar with the verb verschlafen? It's probably one of the most common reasons for people arriving to work late:

 

Ich bin zu spät gekommen, weil ich verschlafen habe.
I arrived too late because I overslept.

 

Wo steckt eigentlich Nicki? -Verschlafen?

Where is Nicki hiding, actually? -Overslept?

Caption 41, Großstadtrevier Von Monstern und Mördern - Part 9

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Verschlafen is also common as an adjective and adverb and has a slightly different meaning:

 

Das Kleinste ist erst Ende März geboren und noch sehr verschlafen.

The smallest was only born at the end of March and is still very sleepy.

Caption 30, Rhein-Main-TV Tierbabys im Opel-Zoo

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Aber noch blinzelt die Leitkuh etwas verschlafen in die Morgensonne.

But the lead cow still blinks a bit sleepily in the morning sun.

Caption 19, Die letzten Paradiese Die Schönheit der Alpen 1 - Part 9

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But the most unexpected meaning of verschlafen is in its slang use with a direct object: 

 

Ich bin ganz ehrlich, ich hab ihn verschlafen, weil ich einkaufen war.

I'll be totally honest: I missed it because I was shopping.

Caption 18, Die Pfefferkörner Alles auf Anfang - Part 16

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This could be alternately translated as "overlooked" or "forgot." So if you ever hear somebody say that they "overslept" something, you'll know that they are using a slang idiom that means that they overlooked it — nothing really to do with sleep!

 

Further Learning
See if you can guess—if you don't already know—the meanings of ausschlafen, durchschlafen, einschlafen, entschlafen, weiterschlafen, and überschlafen. Then go find some examples of these words used in a real-world context on Yabla German. All this talk about sleep is making me sleepy, so with that I wish you all a good night, ich gehe jetzt schlafen!

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