If someone comes late to work and gives the excuse "Я переспал", will people understand this to mean that he overslept, or would it have a different connotation?

  • 4
    переспал can also be said if you've slept for too long Mar 11, 2019 at 17:01
  • 6
    Yes, you can, and you will be understood. Just be ready for a stream of salacious jokes.
    – Alexander
    Mar 11, 2019 at 18:56
  • 3
    As have been mentioned you can and it might cause a witty remark, but you will be understood. The difference between "переспал" and "проспал" is that the latter used in reference to some particular time, when you were supposed to wake up, but failed to do so. The former simply means that you slept too much (the kind of very sleep that makes you almost as groggy as not getting enough of it).
    – AR.
    Mar 11, 2019 at 20:02
  • very long sleep*
    – AR.
    Mar 13, 2019 at 5:10

3 Answers 3


Short answer:

Yes, if by "oversleep" you mean to sleep too much, assuming too much sleep is harmful. Such usage was common from late 19th till early 20th century. Today it is uncommon, but some Russian speakers still recognize it.

No, if by "oversleep" you mean to wake up too late and miss some important event.

Long answer:

Based on the ruscorpora.ru,

In addition to the most common meaning "переспать с кем-то" - "to have sex with somebody" (lit. to sleep with somebody), переспать had additional meanings in past.

In 19 century, переспать meant "to overcome something with sleep":

  • "да не посоветовать ли ему заснуть часа два; хоть бы он переспал свое раздражение" (Достоевский, 1848)
  • "Тверская встрепка меня вылечила: я с горя переспал болезнь." (Лесков, 1879)

In late 19th and early 20th century, переспать meant "to sleep too much", assuming too long sleeps are unhealthy:

  • "я, брат, должно быть, переспал… инда очумел!" (Салтыков-Щедрин, 1880-1881)
  • "Меня обуяла физическая и мозговая вялость, точно я переспал." (Чехов, 1893)
  • "оттого ли, что переспал он, или по другой причине, появилась бессонница." (Андреев, 1908)
  • "Ночь спал тревожно, с бредом, вероятно, потому, что переспал днем." (Пришвин, 1922)
  • "Спали бы еще. Сергей не мог понять, смеется она над ним или говорит всерьез. Было уже начало одиннадцатого. ― Спасибо, я и так переспал, ― сказал Сергей и присел к огню." (Фазиль Искандер, 1977)

From 1920s till 1970s, переспать meant "to have a sleep in some unusual/occasional place":

  • "ночь переспал в лесу" (Пришвин, 1922)
  • "Он забрался в русскую печь, где и переспал." (Артём Весёлый, 1924-1932)
  • "Там была солома и, пусть сарай без двери, было сухо, хотя на дворике шел дождь. Переспал. Как светать начало, пошел искать хозвзвод." (1944-1946)
  • "Я вот переспал у кого, встану, богу помолюсь, хозяину поклонюсь ― и дальше." (Казаков, 1956)
  • "Переспал час-полтора, но сон слишком короткий, что ли, ― отдыха не дал." (Залыгин, 1967)
  • "Я кружил целый вечер возле дома, в котором он снимал комнату, переспал у старушки и утром издалека подсматривал, когда он появится на веранде." (Лихоносов, 1968)
  • "Ночь вместе с другими освобожденными он переспал в Московской Городской Думе" (Гуль, 1974)
  • "Переспал тут у «кукурузников», в эскадрилье связи" (1977)

After 1977, all cases of "переспал" are about sex.


"Я переспал" means "I slept (with someone)" or even "I have slept (with someone)". "I overslept" would be "Я проспал".

  • There can be many exceptions to this
    – d.k
    Mar 11, 2019 at 17:44
  • 6
    Переспал can absolutely used as 'overslept'. "Проспал" implies sleeping over some exact waking time. "Переспал" can (and does) mean 'slept too much' without reference to any particular time or event.
    – AR.
    Mar 11, 2019 at 19:59
  • @user11595 More precisely, "Я переспал" means "I had sex with someone", but in this case, you have to say with who you "slept".
    – Dmitriy
    Mar 11, 2019 at 22:00

In my opinion, the first step is to consult the usual dictionary of Russian. It's strange that the native speakers of Russian rarely do it in this stackexchange community. I believe it's the spirit of stackexchange to check the scientific sources. In case with languages it's obviosly dictionaries.

The 4 senses of переспать are defined here (as published in the dictionary in 1998, as far as I know it's the only large dictionary of modern Russian available online): http://gramota.ru/slovari/dic/?word=%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B5%D1%81%D0%BF%D0%B0%D1%82%D1%8C&all=x

I understand some learners find it difficult to read definitions in Russian dictionaries. So these 4 senses are:

  1. Sleep too much, longer than needed, or longer than others.
  2. Colloq., Sleep in order to wait for something to pass, due to circumstances.
  3. Spend night somewhere, in some place.
  4. Colloq., Have sex with...

So these senses are reflected in examples listed by user31264.

The meaning 'have sex with...' has become the most popular recently, so the word has sexual connotations.

In case with your situation - be late for work - I can't see why this word should suit, the usual word being проспал.

  • Paper dictionaries are not that reliable. If one spends 5 years on a dictionary, 250 days a year, 8 hours a day, it is 10,000 hours. If there are 50,000 words, it is only 12 minutes per word.
    – user31264
    Mar 14, 2019 at 6:39

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