slap·​dash | \ ˈslap-ˈdash How to pronounce slapdash (audio) , -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 This slapdash approach to writing the nation’s laws drew bipartisan criticism on Monday night from representatives and senators on both the left and the right. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Congress Is the Problem Child of American Democracy," 23 Dec. 2020 At that slapdash mention of children, Crawley’s fiance looks stunned. Washington Post, "‘The Bachelorette’s’ second premiere: New lead Tayshia Adams meets Clare Crawley’s leftovers," 11 Nov. 2020 Shot from behind, Swift's easy woven plait communicated the sweet, slapdash approach to beauty adopted by many of us during this time of simplified aesthetics. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Taylor Swift Reveals a Holiday-Ready Beauty Look on Her New Album Cover," 10 Dec. 2020 Behind the scenes, Trump has privately expressed frustration with the slapdash nature of his election defense fight, according to several people familiar with the discussions. NBC News, "'The closest thing to a concession': Trump administration finally allows Biden transition to begin," 24 Nov. 2020 And yet Ben Wheatley’s superficial, slapdash new Netflix adaptation fails to plumb these possible new depths. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "All the Wrong Reasons to Remake “Rebecca”," 24 Oct. 2020 Unlike the slapdash nature of many blockchain projects launched in 2017, Polkadot has attracted elite computer scientists and is funded by some of Silicon Valley's top venture capita firms, including Andreessen Horowitz. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "The blockchain industry faces a moment of truth as high-profile projects go live," 21 Oct. 2020 Some, such as Max Kennedy Jr., one of the volunteers on Jared Kushner’s slapdash team tasked with procuring ventilators and personal protective equipment, speak cathartically about the lack of leadership. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "The COVID-19 Documentary All Americans Need to See," 19 Oct. 2020 So if her tendency in writing personal essays is to be more slapdash or exploratory of her Kapoor-ish qualities — Kaling, like Kapoor, is a celebrity junkie and rom-com fiend, after all — then, sure. Washington Post, "Mindy Kaling’s new essays are lightweight entertainment for trying times," 6 Oct. 2020

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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The first known use of slapdash was circa 1792

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Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Slapdash.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce slapdash (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of slapdash

: quick and careless

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