What is the correct way to say “i am sleepy” in esperanto?

Google translate insists - erroneously - on “Mi dormas” (I am sleeping / I sleep), but that’s not what i’m looking for. A person that is sleepy doesn’t sleep.


The esperanto affix -em- indicates a tendendy or inclination toward whatever the root refers to. So, "sleepy" can be expressed as dormema (as an adjective). So, Mi estas dormema.

You can find a list of affixes in Esperanto at Word-Building with Esperanto Affixes.

Also see dormema on Wiktionary.

  • Aha, of course! I’ll have to brush up on my affixes.
    – gerbnl
    Oct 9 '18 at 21:11

Sleepy means “a little bit tired”, so another option could be laceta.

  • Sleepy can also mean "tired" or even "very tired" (about to fall asleep). I suspect those meanings could be even more prevalent than "a little bit tired". Dunno whether there are regional differences.
    – das-g
    Nov 10 at 13:04

Mi sentas min dormema. Mi dormemas. Mi sentas dormemon. Mi volas/volus dormi. Mi baldaŭ ekdormos. Mi jam preskaŭ dormas. Mi jam dormetas. Mi estas laca kaj emas dormi. Mi estas (ĝis)dorme laca. Mi bezonas dormon.

  • 1
    Exactly this way. Normally the ending -em has a connotation to a long-lasting tendency or inclination but depending on the context and used verb (especially verbs like havi, senti) it can denote a short-lasting state. (source PIV). Sep 22 at 4:23

I'm under the impression that, at least in Europe, the preferred form is 'dormavida'.

  • 1
    I think -avida as a suffix means that you have a long-term tendency towards the root (like manĝavida could mean greedy). This is also one of the meanings of -em. In this case in English sleepy is only a temporary inclination to sleep (ie, a bit tired) so I don’t think dormavida makes sense. Maybe a better translation of dormavida would be something like sleepyhead.
    – Neil Roberts
    Nov 5 '18 at 14:31
  • 1
    Compound words in Esperanto often have an adaptive meaning. For example, ‘vortaro’ is not just a set of words, but a DICTIONARY, and ‘arbaro’ is not just a set of trees, but a FOREST, and so on. Also, it seems to me that ‘dormema’ is more likely to describe a ‘sleepyhead’ (using the sense that you yourself acknowledge) than would ‘dormavida’, with ‘dormavida’ being, by adaptation, more suitable for focusing on the ‘momentary life-situation’ (to use the terminology of Kurt Lewin). Nov 6 '18 at 17:25

Since the English Dictionary defines sleepy as an adjective, I would (and have) just use the adjective (-a) form of the word. It's simple, and perfectly understandable: the prime directive of Esperanto where ambiguity is not an issue. Mi estas dorma. - (dorma, dormeta, dormega ...)

  • 3
    I think dorma is more like something related to sleep. Like a dorma ĉambro would be a room for sleeping, not a sleepy room.
    – Neil Roberts
    Jan 3 '19 at 22:33
  • Mi estas dorma means I am asleep. Dormema would be the correct word to use meaning "having an inclination for sleeping."
    – Karlomanio
    Jan 7 '19 at 15:12
  • 1
    Mi estas dorma means I am somehow related to sleep Out of context, it means neither I am sleepy ( = mi estas dormema ) nor I am asleep ( = mi estas dormanta ) nor I am a sleepyhead ( = mi estas dormemulo ) It is a very ambiguous sentence, and is therefore best avoided (In fact, I have never heard it)
    – Dario
    Jan 10 '19 at 7:50

It should be "mi estas dorma" or "mi estas dormema"

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