Can we use the verb 'oversleep' with a direct object? For example can we say "a person has overslept something" (such as work, school or plane)?

If no, what should we say instead of 'I have overslept my plane'?

2 Answers 2


The verb oversleep is normally intransitive (it doesn't take an object), but the full OED does have this for their second definition...

oversleep To sleep beyond (a particular time); to miss (a train, etc.) by sleeping too long; to sleep through (something). Also figurative.

So in principle you can say I overslept my plane. But I think that's a rather unusual usage - if you're going to oversleep anything, it's almost always the alarm. For OP's context I might say I overslept [the alarm] and missed my plane.


Yes, you can use oversleep with a direct object. Here is one that gives an example with "appointment."

v.tr. {transitive verb}
To sleep beyond the time for: I overslept my appointment.

American Heritage

Note, however, that a plane is not something that has a scheduled time. A flight has a scheduled time, so in my experience it would be more natural to say:

I overslept my flight

for instance

I overslept my flight and had to take another one.

Real life examples:

My mind is racing and I am trying to figure out how the hell I am going to tell my mother that I over-slept the flight. (Source)

Another one I found on Google is

a more accurate use of your hypothetical: in your example, if i oversleep the flight (as opposed to it being canceled), AA could possibly charge me hundreds and hundreds of dollars (a lot more than your $150)

I found no examples of oversleep with plane. I am simply saying that in my experience, it seems more natural to use flight and not plane. And I can only go by my experience.

The OED's example of oversleep a train may be natural to some, because trains themselves are often referred to by their departure times:

I overslept the 9:55 train

I would never say

I overslept the 9:55 plane

but I would say

I overslept the 9:55 flight.

Flights, appointments, alarm clocks (and, for some, trains) all have a particular time connected with them and the main definition, in the OED and elsewhere is

To sleep beyond (a particular time)

  • I think you're overthinking this one when you say a plane is not something that has a scheduled time, and that the usage would therefore only be "valid" if you say you overslept your flight. In which context it's worth noting that OED's definition specifically mentions oversleeping a train, etc. as an example. Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 19:37
  • I did not say it was invalid to say overslept my plane, I said it was more natural to say overslept my flight.
    – GoDucks
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 19:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .