\ ˈslāt How to pronounce slate (audio) \

Definition of slate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a piece of construction material (such as laminated rock) prepared as a shingle for roofing and siding
2 : a dense fine-grained metamorphic rock produced by the compression of various sediments (such as clay or shale) so as to develop a characteristic cleavage
3 : a tablet (as of slate) used for writing on
4a : a written or unwritten record (as of deeds) started with a clean slate
b : a list of candidates for nomination or election
5a : a dark purplish gray
b : any of various grays similar in color to common roofing slates


verb (1)
slated; slating

Definition of slate (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to cover (something) with slate or a slatelike substance slate a roof
2 : to designate (someone or something) for a specified purpose or action occurring especially at a fixed time was slated to direct the play The new model is slated [=scheduled] for release early next year.


verb (2)
slated; slating

Definition of slate (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to thrash or pummel severely
2 chiefly British : to criticize or censure severely

Other Words from slate


slate adjective
slatelike \ ˈslāt-​ˌlīk How to pronounce slate (audio) \ adjective

Examples of slate in a Sentence

Noun Some school blackboards are made of slate. The house has a slate roof.

First Known Use of slate


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for slate


Middle English sclate, slate, from Anglo-French *esclat, from esclater to splinter, break off, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German zesleizzen, slīzan to tear apart — more at slit

Verb (2)

probably alteration of slat entry 1

Learn More About slate

Time Traveler for slate

Time Traveler

The first known use of slate was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near slate

slat conveyor


slate black

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Statistics for slate

Cite this Entry

“Slate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for slate



English Language Learners Definition of slate

: a type of hard rock that splits easily into thin layers
: a small sheet of slate in a wooden frame that was used in schools in the past for writing on with chalk
: a piece of slate that is used with others to cover a roof or wall


\ ˈslāt How to pronounce slate (audio) \

Kids Definition of slate

1 : a fine-grained usually bluish gray rock that splits into thin layers or plates and is used mostly for roofing and blackboards
2 : a framed piece of slate used to write on


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