Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb \ˈslik\

Simple Definition of slick

  • : to make (something) smooth and slippery

Full Definition of slick

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to make sleek or smooth

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  spruce —usually used with up

Examples of slick

  1. The rain slicked the roads.

  2. <slicking the bottom of their skis with wax>

Origin of slick

Middle English sliken, from Old English *slician; akin to Old High German slīhhan to glide

First Known Use: 14th century




Simple Definition of slick

  • : very smooth and slippery

  • : clever in usually a dishonest or deceptive way

  • : skillful and clever

Full Definition of slick

  1. 1a :  having a smooth surface :  slippery <slick wet leaves>b :  having surface plausibility or appeal :  glossy <slick advertising>c :  based on stereotype :  trite <slick stories soon forgotten>

  2. 2 archaic :  sleek 1

  3. 3a :  characterized by subtlety or nimble wit :  clever; especially :  wily <a slick swindler>b :  deft, skillful <a slick ballplayer>

  4. 4 :  extremely good :  first-rate

slick adverb
slick·ly adverb
slick·ness noun

Examples of slick

  1. Be careful as you drive home—the roads are slick.

  2. big corporations and their slick lawyers

  3. The new kid had some slick moves on the basketball court.

  4. The students did a slick job of promoting the concert.

  5. The video game has slick graphics.

Origin of slick

Middle English slyke; akin to Old English *slician

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of slick

sleek, slick, glossy mean having a smooth bright surface or appearance. sleek suggests a smoothness or brightness resulting from attentive grooming or physical conditioning <a sleek racehorse>. slick suggests extreme smoothness that results in a slippery surface <slipped and fell on the slick floor>. glossy suggests a highly reflective surface <photographs having a glossy finish>.

sly, cunning, crafty, wily, tricky, foxy, artful, slick mean attaining or seeking to attain one's ends by guileful or devious means. sly implies furtiveness, lack of candor, and skill in concealing one's aims and methods <a sly corporate raider>. cunning suggests the inventive use of sometimes limited intelligence in overreaching or circumventing <the cunning fox avoided the trap>. crafty implies cleverness and subtlety of method <a crafty lefthander>. wily implies skill and deception in maneuvering <the wily fugitive escaped the posse>. tricky is more likely to suggest shiftiness and unreliability than skill in deception and maneuvering <a tricky political operative>. foxy implies a shrewd and wary craftiness usually involving devious dealing <a foxy publicity man planting stories>. artful implies indirectness in dealing and often connotes sophistication or cleverness <elicited the information by artful questioning>. slick emphasizes smoothness and guile <slick operators selling time-sharing>.




Simple Definition of slick

  • : a thin layer of liquid that makes a surface very slippery

  • : a smooth tire that is used in car racing

Full Definition of slick

  1. 1a :  something that is smooth or slippery; especially :  a smooth patch of water covered with a film of oilb :  a film of oil

  2. 2 :  an implement for producing a smooth or slick surface

  3. 3 :  a shrewd untrustworthy person

  4. 4 :  a popular magazine printed on coated stock and intended to appeal to sophisticated readers

  5. 5 :  an automobile tire made without a tread for maximum traction (as in drag racing)

  6. 6 slang :  a military helicopter without armaments that is used to transport troops or light cargo


First Known Use of slick


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up slick? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 7, 2016

a slight offense

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

spindrift kittly-benders duvet pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.