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

The result — gorgeous, delicate folk music — sounds anything but slapdash., "The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world," 30 Aug. 2019 The video brings to mind the content on TikTok, the hugely popular social-media platform, where users make slapdash, absurdist remixes of songs and videos, adding digital filters and ornaments. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "Clairo and the Fuzzy, D.I.Y. Sounds of Bedroom Pop," 12 Aug. 2019 This is the place where a slapdash, value-free approach to governing was bound to lead us. E.j. Dionne Jr., The Mercury News, "Dionne: Trump’s China policy focuses on trade, yet ignores our values," 15 Aug. 2019 All four have the dubious claim to fame of informal strategizing leading to seat-of-the-pants implementation and slapdash results. Ramona Sentinel, "Ask Mr. Marketing: Something on the side," 24 July 2019 Some of them were slapdash licensing plays; others loving tributes to the decades of mythology contained within the Marvel universe. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Marvel's Games Are Starting to Feel a Lot Like Its Movies," 19 July 2019 But after a ballistics expert challenged the evidence that led to Merritt’s arrest, DPS investigators were accused of rushing to judgment and using slapdash police work amid intense public pressure. Kyra Haas, azcentral, "Who runs the state? Here are Arizona's top agency heads (and their salaries)," 16 July 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 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

7 Sep 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

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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