\ ˈslā How to pronounce slay (audio) \
slew\ ˈslü How to pronounce slew (audio) \ also especially in sense 2 slayed; slain\ ˈslān How to pronounce slain (audio) \; slaying; slays

Definition of slay

1 transitive : to kill violently, wantonly, or in great numbers slay the enemy This was the appearance of a dreadful epidemic which in that age, and long before and afterward, was wont to slay its hundreds and thousands on both sides of the Atlantic.— Nathaniel Hawthorne broadly : to strike down : kill slay a dragon "It's a lot easier to slay a vampire with a stake in the heart than it is to slay some of our demons that are in our heads." — Rachel T. Hill
2 transitive, informal : to delight or amuse immensely slayed the audience … [Seth Rogen] is currently slaying critics with Superbad, which he co-wrote with Evan Goldberg.— Tanner Stransky
3 transitive + intransitive, informal : to do something or perform exceptionally well or impressively : to be exceptionally impressive From the Let Girls Learn initiative to her Vogue covers, [Yara Shahidi] slays it all.— Rebecca Sun Beyoncé did not come to this year's Grammy Awards just to slay, she came to make a statement.— Jackie Fields From the red carpet to her sure-to-be epic performance, one thing is for certain—she's gonna slay.— Quinn Keaney

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Other Words from slay

slayer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for slay



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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 Just like the 21 times before Saturday night when a former Saban protege tried and failed to slay college football’s greatest coach. John Talty |, al, "Kirby Smart no match for Saban, Bo Nix has to be better," 18 Oct. 2020 That is a hard enough job to do faithfully without looking for dragons to slay. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "The Democrats’ Frivolous Three-Pronged Attack on Judge Barrett," 29 Sep. 2020 Now, Apple represents the Goliath Microsoft was helping to slay. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Revisiting the spectacular failure that was the Bill Gates deposition," 10 Sep. 2020 People on the North Atlantic Diet typically have more bitter rivalries and slay more vengeful whales than the average person. James Folta, The New Yorker, "The North Atlantic Diet," 8 Sep. 2020 And this helps to explain why science denial is easy to generate and hard to slay. Naomi Oreskes, Scientific American, "The False Logic behind Science Denial," 1 Aug. 2020 Leave it to Queen Bey to slay with a scary-good track that's also accompanied by an equally eerie music video. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "50 Spooky Halloween Songs You Need to Play at Your Costume Party," 9 July 2020 Or Air Force’s Troy Calhoun, a sharp offensive cookie who could slay bigger dragons in Boulder than at the Academy. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Keeler: Steve Sarkisian? Bret Bielema? Troy Calhoun? It won’t matter unless CU Buffs get serious about paying assistants," 19 Feb. 2020 Join us this year, for a virtual experience that will reinvigorate your desire to slay physically and mentally. Shamika Sanders, Essence, "Here Are All The Reasons You Can't Miss ESSENCE Festival's 2020 Virtual Beauty Carnival," 26 June 2020

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 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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Time Traveler for slay

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for slay

Last Updated

27 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Slay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for slay


How to pronounce slay (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of slay

literary : to kill (someone or something) especially in a battle or war
US : to kill (someone)
chiefly US, informal + old-fashioned : to delight or amuse (someone) very much


\ ˈslā How to pronounce slay (audio) \
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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