In this The English We Speak podcast: Neil had a crying child in his room and Feifei had a mosquito in hers. That’s why neither of them has slept a wink. Listen to this episode of The English We Speak to learn more about this phrase.
Neil: (Yawning) Welcome to The English We Speak with me – a very tired Neil – and Feifei.
Feifei: (Yawning) Hi, I’m Feifei.
Neil: Oh, Feifei, I’m so tired.
Feifei: Me too. The kids?
Neil: Ah, the kids kept me awake all night. As soon as one of them went back to sleep, the other one started screaming. What’s your excuse?
Feifei: A mosquito.
Neil: A mosquito?
Feifei: Yes, there was a mosquito in my room. Every time I turned the light off and tried to go to sleep I heard buzzing in my ear. I haven’t slept a wink.
Neil: And I haven’t slept a wink either! A wink is when you close and open one of your eyes very quickly once – usually to show friendliness or that you are having a joke with someone. It’s also a verb – to wink.
Feifei: So, if you say ‘I haven’t slept a wink’ it means that you’ve had so little sleep, your eye didn’t even close once!
Neil: That’s right. It’s an exaggeration. Here are some examples:
- A: You look terrible! What’s the matter?
- B: I haven’t slept a wink. It was a really bad idea to move to a flat next to a pub.
- A: How about a trip to the cinema tonight?
- B: Sorry I can’t. I haven’t slept a wink. There were cats outside fighting all night.
Neil: So, we can use ‘I haven’t slept a wink’ to say that we are very tired because we haven’t had much sleep. (Yawns) I can’t wait to get home tonight and just jump into bed… I don’t know how I’m going to get through the rest of this programme, let alone the rest of the day.
Feifei: Me neither.
Neil: Nice and quiet in here, though, isn’t it?
Feifei: And dark.
Neil: Do you think anyone would notice if we just…
Feifei: That’s a great idea! I’ll just put these two chairs together.
Neil: And I’ll rest my head on this desk and… (snoring).
(Sound of babies screaming and mosquitos buzzing)
Both: Argh! Kids! Mosquitos! Is there anywhere to sleep? Argh!
The English We Speak – Haven’t slept a wink Transcript Video
Source: BBC Learning EnglishMore Series for You: