meaning and origin of ‘forty winks’

early 19th century—probably a jocular application of ‘forty’ as an indefinite term for a large number—‘wink’ in the sense of ‘a closing of the eyes for sleep’

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The veracious story of a worthy knight, called Sir Loin of Beef

The English poet John Taylor (1578-1653) wrote, in The great eater, of Kent, or Part of the admirable teeth and stomacks exploits of Nicholas Wood, of Harrisom in the county of Kent His excessiue manner of eating without manners, in strange and true manner described, by Iohn Taylor (1630): One Iohn Dale was too hard […]

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