I was wondering if there is a word that means to stay/sleep somewhere for only one night.

Here are a couple examples:

Abraham's servant decided to word at Rebecca's family's house.

The kind couple suggested to the poor man that he word at their house.

If more examples are needed, I will gladly supply.

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    "Overnight" is the word. "... decided to overnight at Rebecca's ..." – Hot Licks Sep 27 '15 at 17:50
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    What’s wrong with sleep ? – Jim Sep 27 '15 at 18:02
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    In Britain one would say stay, or if needing to emphasise a single night's visit stay the night. – WS2 Sep 27 '15 at 18:18
  • In my mind those are what someone else does for you- he put me up for the night. Joe fixed me up [with a place to stay] for the night. – Jim Sep 27 '15 at 19:59
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    Colloquially the word crash could be used. "The kind couple suggested to the poor man that he crash at their house." But sleep over may work even better as it fits the slightly old fashioned sense of the sentence. – Ian Lewis Sep 29 '15 at 9:35

15 Answers 15


Abraham's servant decided to stay the night at Rebecca's family's house.

The kind couple suggested to the poor man that he stay the night at their house.

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    Also spend the night. – user1359 Sep 28 '15 at 13:55
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    True... but I think he wants an older version where it's impossible to interpret like "sleeping" with the other person. The old 80s movies ruined "spend" the night for everyone. – unom Sep 28 '15 at 14:00
  • @unmircea "spend the night at X's house" seems much more innocent than "--with X"; for a plural X, it's somewhere in between. – Chris H Sep 28 '15 at 15:50
  • @user1359: Spend the night was already given as an answer. – Drew Sep 29 '15 at 21:32
  • @unmircea: 80s movies didn't ruin spend the night for everyone, not for me, at least. Of course, perhaps we didn't watch the same "80s movies". ;-) – Drew Sep 29 '15 at 21:33

I think that the word you are looking for might be "crash".


"You can crash at my place if you like."

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    Exactly the word in my mind. However, its rather informal... – Ronald Sep 27 '15 at 18:01
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    Not perhaps suitable for Abrahan's servant, though? – Margana Sep 27 '15 at 18:10
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    True, very informal. However, maybe this Abraham is very cool one ;) – Grzegorz Gajos Sep 27 '15 at 18:12
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    We are talking about people with Old Testament names. And there is a 'servant' involved. Crash seems to me what a 2015 student does when he stays over at his mate's place, usually involving sleeping on an air-bed if he's lucky, on the floor if he isn't. – WS2 Sep 27 '15 at 18:24
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    To me, sojourn is a temporary stay, but not necessarily (and not likely) one of a single night's duration. The Israelites sojourned in the land of Goshen. I doubt it was a one-nighter. – Steven Littman Sep 28 '15 at 3:17

Abraham's servant decided to overnight at Rebecca's family's house.

The kind couple suggested to the poor man that he overnight at their house.

The story is told of how Gamzu was sent to Rome with a gift for the Emperor - a chest full of gold and jewels. Along the way, he stopped to overnight at an inn.

We overnighted in Mannheim, but Maria stayed overnight in Ludwigshafen.

overnight: to stay overnight

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    If you hadn't included the link, I would have never have believed that "overnight" can be used as a verb. But the fact that it can, doesn't mean it is well-known or acceptable to the majority of native speakers. I'm guessing that this is AmEng dialect. Imagine someone asking: "Can I overnight at your place?" OR "Will you be overnighting?" Too awful for words. :) – Mari-Lou A Sep 28 '15 at 4:34
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    @Mari-LouA It doesn't sound that terrible to my ear...maybe t's just a matter of "getting acclimated" with it. :-) It's even been around as a verb for quite awhile actually: since about the end of the 19th century! Plus, more recently, it has deceloped in AmEng into the meaning of "to send by overnight mail." It is much more used in speech than in writing though, but that doesn't mean it is not acceptable in your correspondence, or that you need to put quotes around it when you use it...:-) Assuming that the reader will readily understand what is meant, there's no reason to avoid this verb. – Elian Sep 28 '15 at 5:43
  • @Mari-LouA oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/overnight – Elian Sep 28 '15 at 5:44
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    @Mari-LouA: I agree that "Will you be overnighting?" sounds bad, like an artificial phrase that came out of a marketing department somewhere. I think the word is more than fine for formal use, though, and have heard it before. Your first example sounds a bit informal, so "crash" would fit well. – Peter Cordes Sep 28 '15 at 9:48
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    @Mari-LouA Agreed. It sounds like marketer jargon. – Kevin Krumwiede Sep 29 '15 at 1:08

I thought the word was pernoctate - probably not used very much these days.

  • +1 This is exactly correct, but almost certainly not what the OP was after. – Tom Chantler Sep 28 '15 at 11:45
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    @jamesh It would be helpful if you edited your answer to add a reference, and maybe a link. "Pernoctate" is new to me, and I'd have immediately clicked on a link to its definition, if it had been there. – ab2 Sep 28 '15 at 16:08
  • Indeed, this is a new word to me, and is next in line as the title of a poem. – IconDaemon Sep 29 '15 at 1:05
  • Interestingly, Merriam-Webster has a somewhat different definition, to stay up or out, especially in vigil. – Kevin Sep 29 '15 at 1:59

An expression for this is "spend the night". That's not a single word, unless you are just looking for "spend".

  • I spent the night at X's house.
  • It should be highlighted that 'spend the night' is also a euphemism for having sex. – dwjohnston Sep 29 '15 at 2:37
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    @dwjohnston: No, it should not. There is hardly any way of saying the same thing that cannot be used to suggest having sex. In such a case, "euphemism" means nothing. – Drew Sep 29 '15 at 3:14
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    @dwjohnston: there is a difference between 'spend the night with' and 'spend the night at'. – KPM Sep 30 '15 at 7:41

What is wrong with with 'sleep'? Keep it simple, rather than try and find some elaborate word which everyone would have to look up anyway. Unless you're looking for a word that fits into the period in which you're writing.


The word "sojourn" refers to a temporary stay (though not necessarily one night), has Latin roots, and has recorded use since mediaeval times.


If I needed to stay somewhere for a night, I might ask:

Can I bunk with you tonight?

Note, this does not typically imply anything beyond an intent to sleep at a persons house.


Abraham's servant decided to bunk at Rebecca's family's house.

The kind couple suggested to the poor man that he bunk at their house.

  • Doesn't imply a single night, however. – Funkodebat Sep 29 '15 at 17:17

How about "stop over" (Cambridge)? Without more than one night being specified, a single night stay is implied (at least as I hear/use it), and the stay is secondary to some other activity, such as a journey or a late event.

  • This was the first thing I thought of, though it admittedly doesn't fit the 'Abraham's servant' example well at all. – hBy2Py Sep 29 '15 at 3:27
  • @Brian I wasn't sure it was a biblical reference, and didn't want to assume. All alternatives to the horrible "overnight" as a verb should be explored. – Chris H Sep 29 '15 at 6:17
  • Yep, it's from when Abraham sent his servant to seek out a wife for Isaac. – hBy2Py Sep 29 '15 at 11:07

Not quite one word, but how does "bed down" sound? As per the Cambridge Dictionaries Online, http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/bed-down, to ​lie down ​somewhere, usually ​somewhere different from where you usually ​sleep, in ​order to go to ​sleep

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    It sounds very informal. – Steven Littman Sep 28 '15 at 3:19
  • Agreed, I definitely would not use it when referring to a head of state or someone like that. However, don't you think a formal event would tend towards politically-correct (and thus generally longer) turns of phrase? In which case, the one-word condition may be overlooked in favor of other considerations. – LiveMynd Sep 28 '15 at 4:24
  • This is a phrase I might use if I was camping, – MrWhite Sep 28 '15 at 7:45

Sleepover is common when referring to children.


A phrase used quite often here in Scotland, but comes from Old English is Bide

Remain or Stay Somewhere:

"How long must I bide here to wait for the answer>"

It's more commonly used to indicate "to live (somewhere)"

"Where do you bide?" "On King St"

but it can also be used to indicate where you spent the night.

Why don't you bide at my place tonight?

In your examples:

Abraham's servant decided to bide at Rebecca's family's house.

The kind couple suggested to the poor man that he bide at their house.


Lots of suggestions, but I haven't seen this one yet: stay over.

stay over


To spend the night: The roads were icy, so we urged our guests to stay over. We stayed over in Denver and left the following morning.


You're kipping there. Do you want to kip at mine tonight? No problem.

Literally it's a synonym for "sleep", but with a casual, diminutive connotation that works well when applied to a temporary sleeping arrangement more generally. So, it doesn't exclusively mean what you asked for, but where I come from it's almost exclusively used as such.


bivouac - back in my army reservists days, overnighters where called bivouac...

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    Bivouac means to camp without cover at all, so you can't do this at someone's house...unless you deliberately choose to sleep on their lawn. – Steven Littman Sep 28 '15 at 3:19
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    Another term of military origin which is more applicable is "billet". – Peter Cordes Sep 28 '15 at 9:43

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