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How many ways are there of saying that someone didn't sleep all night? In my country, it can be expressed with just an adjective or a noun; how can I say it in English?

To address the comments below:

Original language: Portuguese.

Respective (2-word) adjective: "de direta", as in "I am 'de direta'".

Respective noun: "direta", as in "Today I did a 'direta'".

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  • I downvoted this for two reasons. First, in English there are at least dozens of ways; far too many to count. Then, it doesn't seem fair of igordcard to ask that, without telling us his country, and what's meant by it can be expressed with just an adjective or a noun. Is A night without sleeping the same as a night without sleep, let alone someone didn't sleep all night? Any might be expressed with just an adjective or a noun added to a phrase; any language I don’t speak might have a single noun for any of them and still, won’t that adjective have to be phenomenally powerful? Jul 12, 2017 at 21:07
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    It doesn't seem fair of Robbie Goodwin to downvote and assume I know all about english (except the answer to my question) without first stopping to ask a question himself.
    – igordcard
    Jul 13, 2017 at 15:08
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    What is it in English? OR How can I say it in English? ( not: How can it be .....?)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 13, 2017 at 17:21
  • Thanks for changing that, igordcard; sorry you felt miffed. I'm almost sorry I asked how in your country, that could be expressed with just an adjective or a noun… and without trying to start a separate discussion, I do wonder whether that's as unusual in Portuguese as it is in translation? Either way, does anyone see a reason I can't coin two new words? Insomnious: adjective; causing or characterised by insomnia. Insomninight: noun; a night of insomnia. Jul 13, 2017 at 18:43

5 Answers 5

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I've always liked: "I had an all-nighter."

This generally refers to a night out on the town, night-time shift work, or cramming for exams. Something of that nature.

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    In Australian English we also use to pull an all-nighter, meaning to work (on a project) all night.
    – jsj
    Jun 1, 2011 at 0:00
  • I think this is what I was looking for.
    – igordcard
    Jun 1, 2011 at 2:47
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    You pull all-nighters in the U.S., too.
    – JPmiaou
    Oct 28, 2011 at 14:46
  • You can use the word "pulled". "I pulled an all nighter." Jul 13, 2017 at 20:06
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You have a choice: an insomnia, a sleepless night (the noun is sleeplessness), a wakeful night (wakefulness), a restless night (restlessness).

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  • Oh, by the way, we use an adjective too. Let me edit the question.
    – igordcard
    May 31, 2011 at 21:05
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    I don't think insomnia can take an article.
    – Marthaª
    Oct 28, 2011 at 13:51
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There is also the word fitful, as in "I had a fitful sleep last night," which means the sleep was intermittent and not restful, not a proper night's sleep at all.

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Insomnia perhaps but you still need something like "I lay awake all night with insomnia" which is a bit redundant.

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    Yes, the cause doesn't need to be insomnia though.
    – igordcard
    May 31, 2011 at 20:49
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I have heard the word white night used for this, but I think this is taken from other languages.

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  • I certainly would have no clue what you meant by "white night" without a lot of further context. "White knight" is a set phrase in English. "White night" is not.
    – Marthaª
    Oct 28, 2011 at 13:52
  • It's used in Italian, passare la notte in bianco = (literally) to pass a night in white, i.e. Nowadays understood to stay up all night; but the true meaning of this expression lies deep in medieval history.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 28, 2013 at 6:53
  • I think I was thinking of the French "nuit blanche"
    – BlueWhale
    Sep 30, 2013 at 14:08

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