The term “40 winks” is a commonly used expression to mean a short nap. The girl in the photo is obviously just “catching 40 winks” before her next round of competition, but where did the expression come from and what does it actually mean?
A wink is the quick closing and opening of an eye. Winking both eyes 40 times wouldn’t be much of a nap, nor would 100 times, and 1,000 times would be pointless, so why the precise number 40? The number 40 is used many times in the Bible; e.g. Noah’s 40 days and nights of rain, Moses’ 40 days on the mountain, and Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness. Biblical scholars say “40” is generally accepted to mean “a long time” rather than a definite period. Therefore, it would take a very long number of winks to equal a nap.
Thought for the Day: I usually take a two hour nap from one to four. Yogi Berra