noun, often attributive \ˈsləm\

: an area of a city where poor people live and the buildings are in bad condition

: a very untidy place

Full Definition of SLUM

:  a densely populated usually urban area marked by crowding, dirty run-down housing, poverty, and social disorganization

Examples of SLUM

  1. He grew up in the slums of New York.
  2. His house is a slum.

Origin of SLUM

origin unknown
First Known Use: 1825


intransitive verb

: to spend time in places or conditions that are much worse than your usual places or conditions


Full Definition of SLUM

:  to visit slums especially out of curiosity; broadly :  to go somewhere or do something that might be considered beneath one's station —sometimes used with it <slumming it in budget hotels>
slum·mer noun

Examples of SLUM

  1. He sometimes likes to go slumming in bars around the city.

First Known Use of SLUM



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Densely populated area of substandard housing, usually in a city, characterized by unsanitary conditions and social disorganization. Rapid industrialization in 19th-century Europe was accompanied by rapid population growth and the concentration of working-class people in overcrowded, poorly built housing. England passed the first legislation for building low-income housing to certain minimum standards in 1851; laws for slum clearance were first enacted in 1868. In the U.S., slum development coincided with the arrival of large numbers of immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; laws concerning adequate ventilation, fire protection, and sanitation in urban housing were passed in the late 1800s. In the 20th century government and private organizations built low-income housing and appropriated funds for urban renewal and offered low-interest home loans. Shantytowns, which often grow up around urban centres in developing countries as rural populations migrate to the cities in search of employment, are one type of slum for which alleviating measures have yet to be successfully introduced. See also urban planning.


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