slap·​dash | \ ˈslap-ˈdash How to pronounce slapdash (audio) , -ˌdash\

Definition of slapdash

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The first known use of "slapdash" in English came in 1679 from the British poet and dramatist John Dryden, who used it as an adverb in his play The kind keeper; or Mr. Limberham: "Down I put the notes slap-dash." The Oxford English Dictionary defines this sense in part as "[w]ith, or as with, a slap and a dash," perhaps suggesting the notion of an action (such as painting) performed with quick, imprecise movements. Over 100 years later, the word acquired the adjectival sense with which we are more familiar today, describing something done in a hasty, careless, or haphazard manner.

Examples of slapdash in a Sentence

the investigation of the charges against the mayor was slapdash and not very thorough

Recent Examples on the Web

AtGames doesn't exactly have the best reputation in the retro games community—its plug-and-play consoles tend to have a bit of a slapdash quality to them. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "MAME for the masses? “Legends” arcade cabinet could thread that needle," 31 May 2019 The show's trio of hairstyles—a traditional low ponytail, side ponytail slung over one shoulder, and tall top knot—were practical but quickly elevated with the slapdash fastening of a leather cuff slide secured with a long sleek pin at the base. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Prada Serves Up the Secret to Pulling Off Neon Bright Eye Makeup With Ease," 3 May 2019 Like a present-day Brigitte Bardot, French model Leojeanne fastens her preternaturally dirty blonde mane into sultry, slapdash updos, tapping into the inherent romance of soft, collar-bone grazing strands. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Modern Victorian Updos Are Taking Over Instagram—Here’s How to Do Them Right," 13 Mar. 2019 In every place where the iPad is restricted but elegant, the Pixel Slate is open but slapdash. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "Google Pixel Slate review: slapdash," 27 Nov. 2018 The 30-year-old mother of two has been known to up her off-duty hair game with slapdash top knots cinched with a biker bandana à la Alexander Wang and glossy blowouts secured with two face-framing gold barrettes. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Behati Prinsloo Has the Perfect Shade of Victoria's Secret Blonde for Next Week's Show," 31 Oct. 2018 Much of these vulnerabilities can be traced to the fairly recent history of the country’s slapdash election infrastructure. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018 In the decades since then, aerial firefighting has grown in predictable ways, Crop dusters have transformed into air tankers, slapdash slurries have become researched scientific recipes. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "How Aviation Became Firefighters' Best Friend—And Then Their Worst Enemy," 2 Dec. 2016 Ray Charles appeared in 1962 but did such a short, slapdash show that the audience pelted the stage with beer cans and management briefly imposed an alcohol ban. Christopher Reynolds,, "Sitting in the palm of nature: The unique energy — and performances — of Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'slapdash.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of slapdash

circa 1792, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for slapdash

The first known use of slapdash was circa 1792

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More Definitions for slapdash



English Language Learners Definition of slapdash

: quick and careless

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More from Merriam-Webster on slapdash

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with slapdash

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for slapdash

Spanish Central: Translation of slapdash

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a tendency to relapse

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