Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Forty Winks.

 Forty Thieves.Forty-five. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Forty Winks.
A short nap. Forty is an indefinite number, meaning a few. Thus, we say, “A, B, C, and forty more.” Coriola’nus says, “I could beat forty of them” (iii. 1). (See FORTY.)   1
“The slave had forty thousand lives.”
Shakespeare: Othello, iii. 1.
“I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum.”
Shakespeare: Hamlet, v. 1.

 Forty Thieves.Forty-five. 

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