Green’s Dictionary of Slang

z n.1

also Z, zed, zee, z’s, zzz
[echoic of the sound of one’s breathing]

(orig. US) in pl., sleep in general; esp. in phrs. below.

[US]Dundes & Schonhorn ‘Kansas University Sl.: A New Generation’ in AS XXXVIII:3 174: Get some Z’s, which in verb form was noted twice as Z’ing it. Variants occurring once were: bagging Z’s, copping some Z’s, and knocking out Z’s.
[UK]B. Beckham My Main Mother 15: I nodded and went straight to bed [...] I had trouble kiffing off. The Zs just wouldn’t come.
[US]T. O’Brien If I Die in a Combat Zone (1980) 17: You get tired walking the whole damn day [...] not even the Red Army could keep me from my Z’s.
[US]G. Sculatti Catalog of Cool [Internet] to pile up the z’s (verb): To sleep.
[UK]A-Team Storybook 42: Grab your z’s and leave Mack on the back track.
[US]K. Scott Monster (1994) 225: I’ma step back and get some z’s.
[UK]‘Q’ Deadmeat 283: No nightmares just good quality Zs.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 55: I just want to [...] fuck her until I feel tired enough to get some zeds in.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] Z (n): when you need to get some sleep you need to get some zeds.
[UK]K. Waterhouse Soho 159: A few sly zeds before dawn broke or he got chucked out, whichever came the sooner.
H. Hitchings in elephant.art 21 July [Internet] Missing out on my zeds each night makes me romanticize the past, a sleep-glutted dreamland.

In compounds

In phrases

bag Z’s (v.) (also bag zeds)

(US campus) to nap, to sleep.

[US]Dundes & Schonhorn ‘Kansas University Sl.: A New Generation’ in AS XXXVIII:3 174: Get some Z’s, which in verb form was noted twice as Z’ing it. Variants occurring once were: bagging Z’s, copping some Z’s, and knocking out Z’s.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 25 Sept. 69: Whereas Mel gets her full forty winks [...] I can’t bag zeds.
blow Z’s (v.) (also hit some Z’s)

(US) to sleep; also to snore.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 83: Blow Z’s, ready to Very tired.
[US](con. 1969) C.R. Anderson Grunts 62: The rest of them are blowing fucking Zs in a fucking hammock.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 6: hit some z’s – to sleep or to be in a deep sleep.
bust some Z’s (v.) (also cut (some) Z’s, cut (some) zulus, pick up some Z’s, pop..., snag...)

(US) to have a nap; to sleep.

[US]Current Sl. I:3 7/1: Snag some Z’s, v. To get some sleep.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 25: Z’s, catch some [...] Z’s, cop some [...] Z’s, cut the [...] Z’s, do some [...] Z’s, get the [...] Z’s, grab a few/some [...] Z’s, make some [...] Z’s, saw [...] Z’s, watch the To sleep.
[US]Current Sl. III:1 5: Cut Z’s, v. To sleep.
[US]Current Sl. V:2 14: Z, n. [...] I’m going to pop some Z’s.
[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: cop some z-z-z-z-’s v. to take a nap; to go to sleep.
[US](con. c.1970) G. Hasford Short Timers (1985) 88: We got [...] some areas where you can cut a few Z’s without digging a hole.
[US](con. 1970) J.M. Del Vecchio 13th Valley (1983) 10: You better pick up some Zs.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 3: cut some z’s – to go to sleep.
[US]Kurtis Blow ‘If I Ruled the World’ [lyrics] African babies dying overseas / While you sucker metro-politicians busting out Z’s.
[US](con. c.1970) G. Hasford Phantom Blooper 10: First Platoon is cutting a few well-earned zulus. Time to wake them up. [Ibid.] 45: The squad was cutting Zs, lying on the double layer of sandbags in the bed of the truck.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 49: ‘Aiight, O.G. I’m gonna bust some z’s, y’unnerstan’?’ ‘You’re going to take a nap?’ ‘Right on, dawg.’.
catch a few Z’s (v.) (also catch some winks, catch some Z’s )

(US) to have a nap.

[US]T. Whitmore Memphis-Nam-Sweden 170: He won’t bother me while I try to catch a few z’s.
[US]J. Langone Life at the Bottom 112: All of the Bees / Were asleep in their beds catching some ZZZs.
[US]C. McFadden Serial 71: All Harvey wanted [...] was to pop his Sominex and catch a few z’s.
[US]J. Wambaugh Secrets of Harry Bright (1986) 209: That’s where the cops around here catch a few z’s on a quiet graveyard shift.
[US](con. Vietnam War) M.L. Lanning Only War We Had 251: They spent much of their time at the base camp ‘catching Zs.’.
[US]Tarantino & Avery Pulp Fiction [film script] 69: He lies on a table catching a few zzzzzz’s before his big fight.
[US]T. Willocks Green River Rising 253: That’s pretty cool [...] bein’ able to catch some Z’s at a time like this.
[US]Rebennack & Rummel Under A Hoodoo Moon 133: We’d catch a few zees.
[US]S. King Dreamcatcher 71: Lie down and catch some winks.
[US]Source Aug. 68: Jersey just came off the sand pipe catchin’ Z’s.
clock Z’s (v.)

(US black) to sleep.

[US]L. Stavsky et al. A2Z 21/1: Pops be clockin’ Z’s instead of clockin’ dollars.
cop some Z’s (v.) (also count Z’s)

(US) to sleep, to have a nap.

[US](con. early 1950s) J. Peacock Valhalla 29: Guess I’ll go below and cop some Zs.
[US]N.Y. Times Mag. 25 June 30: coppin’ zzzz: taking a nap.
[US]Dundes & Schonhorn ‘Kansas University Sl.: A New Generation’ in AS XXXVIII:3 174: Get some Z’s, which in verb form was noted twice as Z’ing it. Variants occurring once were: bagging Z’s, copping some Z’s, and knocking out Z’s.
[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 101: Man, it sure doesn’t take long to get t’sleep here ... forty-five minutes and everybody’s countin’ Z’s.
[US]O. Hawkins Ghetto Sketches 176: Can’t you talk to me later. I’m tryin’ to cop some zzzs.
stack Zs (v.)

(US) to have a sleep, to nap.

[US]H. Ellison Rockabilly (1963) 83: The boy was more than glad to drop onto the rack and stack up Zs.
[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 127: Now I, Billy Clyde Puckett, am going off to stack me up some Z’s.
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 153: Thought you were stacking those Z’s.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 173: One of us might as well stack a few Z’s.