\ˈslā \
slew\ˈslü \ also especially in sense 2 slayed; slain\ˈslān \; slaying

Definition of slay 

transitive verb

1 : to kill violently, wantonly, or in great numbers broadly : to strike down : kill

2 : to delight or amuse immensely slayed the audience

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Other Words from slay

slayer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for slay


carry off, claim, croak [slang], destroy, dispatch, do in, fell, kill, take



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Choose the Right Synonym for slay

kill, slay, murder, assassinate, dispatch, execute mean to deprive of life. kill merely states the fact of death caused by an agency in any manner. killed in an accident frost killed the plants slay is a chiefly literary term implying deliberateness and violence but not necessarily motive. slew thousands of the Philistines murder specifically implies stealth and motive and premeditation and therefore full moral responsibility. convicted of murdering a rival assassinate applies to deliberate killing openly or secretly often for political motives. terrorists assassinated the Senator dispatch stresses quickness and directness in putting to death. dispatched the sentry with one bullet execute stresses putting to death as a legal penalty. executed by lethal gas

Examples of slay in a Sentence

The knight slew the dragon. millions have been slain worldwide by this dreadful disease

Recent Examples on the Web

Four children in metro Detroit were found slain between 1976 and 1977, becoming victims of the unknown Oakland County Child Killer. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "Notorious Michigan serial killers: Who were they?," 10 May 2018 Before that, the last time prosecutors sought the death penalty in an Alaska case was in 1997, in a case against Abram Walter, who was accused of slaying a Ruby postmaster. Laurel Andrews, Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. attorney seeks death penalty against Palmer man charged in double homicide," 20 June 2018 News of the game's upcoming release had drawn fierce criticism in recent days from classmates and parents of students slain in Parkland, who demanded Valve remove the game from its platforms. Andrea Diaz, CNN, "'Active Shooter' video game is pulled from Steam gaming platform after backlash from shooting survivors," 30 May 2018 Sabika Sheikh was among 10 students and staff slain Friday at Santa Fe High School. NBC News, "Sabika Sheikh, Pakistani teen killed at Texas school, is laid to rest in home country," 23 May 2018 Sabika Sheikh was among 10 students and staff slain Friday at Santa Fe High School. Adil Jawad, Houston Chronicle, "Body of Pakistani killed at Texas school arrives in Karachi," 23 May 2018 Sabika Sheikh was among 10 students and staff slain Friday at Santa Fe High School near Houston. Fox News, "Thousands mourn Pakistani exchange student slain at Texas school," 23 May 2018 In his hometown of Atlanta and across the nation, remembrances were held to honor the civil rights icon slain at age 39. Ajc Homepage, ajc, "ICYMI: Ex-city official indicted, missing CDC worker’s body found, a somber anniversary," 7 Apr. 2018 One month after 17 people were slain at a Florida high school, students across the country are expected to protest gun violence this morning by taking part in a National School Walkout. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Replay: Louisville students join National School Walkout Day to protest gun violence," 14 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'slay.' 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 slay

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for slay

Middle English slen, from Old English slēan to strike, slay; akin to Old High German slahan to strike, Middle Irish slachta stricken

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Statistics for slay

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for slay

The first known use of slay was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of slay

: to kill (someone or something) especially in a battle or war

: to kill (someone)

: to delight or amuse (someone) very much


\ˈslā \
slew\ˈslü \; slain\ˈslān \; slaying

Kids Definition of slay

Other Words from slay

slayer noun

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Comments on slay

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