slap·dash | \ ˈslap-ˈdash , -ˌdash \

Definition of slapdash 

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Did You Know?

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

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 The amiably slapdash film version, written by Jay Longino, reorients the premise. Michael Phillips,, "'Uncle Drew': Lil Rel Howery coaches NBA all-stars to surprising win," 26 June 2018 But the profession has too often been oddly slapdash in implementing these advances. The Economist, "Hospitals are learning from industry how to cut medical errors," 28 June 2018 Perhaps unsurprisingly, that slapdash organization meant that TanaCon was falling apart from the jump. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "YouTuber’s anti-VidCon convention TanaCon was such a disaster that fans are comparing it to Fyre Fest," 26 June 2018 Not surprisingly, the store’s parking lot was mostly empty at that early hour—a fact that made Brown’s slapdash parking especially noticeable to witnesses. Michael Mccann,, "Inside Sterling Brown’s compelling lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department and City of Milwaukee," 19 June 2018 Director Jeff Tomsic, working from a script by Mark Steilen and Rob McKittrick, swings from violent slapstick to tender moments in slapdash fashion. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Jeremy Renner, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm play the game in 'Tag'," 14 June 2018 President Trump’s slapdash, on-again-off-again summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday will hand the North Korean dictator a diplomatic coup that his father and grandfather never achieved. Erick Trickey, Washington Post, "When Hitler met Hoover: 9 photos of dictators scoring presidential face time," 10 June 2018 Last year, the rapper Joyner Lucas staged a viral argument somewhat less slapdash than West’s. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Fight Songs: Can Political Debate Make Good Music?," 18 May 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

7 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for slapdash

The first known use of slapdash was circa 1792

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English Language Learners Definition of slapdash

: quick and careless

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Spanish Central: Translation of slapdash

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