noun \ˈslāt\

: a type of hard rock that splits easily into thin layers

: a small sheet of slate in a wooden frame that was used in schools in the past for writing on with chalk

: a piece of slate that is used with others to cover a roof or wall

Full Definition of SLATE

:  a piece of construction material (as laminated rock) prepared as a shingle for roofing and siding
:  a dense fine-grained metamorphic rock produced by the compression of various sediments (as clay or shale) so as to develop a characteristic cleavage
:  a tablet (as of slate) used for writing on
a :  a written or unwritten record (as of deeds) <started with a clean slate>
b :  a list of candidates for nomination or election
a :  a dark purplish gray
b :  any of various grays similar in color to common roofing slates
slate adjective
slate·like \-ˌlīk\ adjective

Examples of SLATE

  1. Some school blackboards are made of slate.
  2. The house has a slate roof.

Origin of SLATE

Middle English sclate, slate, from Anglo-French *esclat, from esclater to splinter, break off, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German zesleizzen, slīzan to tear apart — more at slit
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Geology Terms

anthracite, boulder, cwm, erratic, igneous, intrusive, mesa, sedimentary, silt, swale


transitive verb

Definition of SLATE

:  to cover with slate or a slatelike substance <slate a roof>
:  to designate for a specified purpose or action :  schedule <was slated to direct the play>

First Known Use of SLATE

15th century

Other Building Terms

batten, cistern, hearth, lath, transom, wainscot


transitive verb

Definition of SLATE

:  to thrash or pummel severely
chiefly British :  to criticize or censure severely

Origin of SLATE

probably alteration of 1slat
First Known Use: 1825


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Fine-grained, clayey metamorphic rock that splits readily into thin slabs that have great tensile strength and durability. Some other rocks that occur in thin beds are improperly called slate because they can be used for roofing and similar purposes. True slates generally split not along the bedding plane but along planes of cleavage that may intersect the bedding plane at high angles. Slates may be black, blue, purple, red, green, or gray. Slate may be marketed either as dimension slate, used mainly for electrical panels, laboratory tabletops, roofing, and flooring, or as crushed slate, used on composition roofing, in aggregates, and as a filler.


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