slay

verb
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from slay

slayer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for slay

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed over the caskets of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani and others slain in the attack. CBS News, "Iran denies shooting at crowds protesting after plane was shot down," 13 Jan. 2020 The incident occurred in the Postbrook Apartment complex near 42nd Street and Post Road, about a block away from where teen siblings Ashlynn and Nicholas Nelson were found slain in their home in August. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Teen boy in critical condition following northeast side shooting," 8 Jan. 2020 Iranian Leader Press Office—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself prayed over the caskets of Soleimani and others slain in the attack. Time, "'We Promise to Continue Down Martyr Soleimani's Path.' Huge Crowds of Mourners in Tehran Attend Funeral For Qasem Soleimani," 6 Jan. 2020 Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself prayed over the caskets of Soleimani and others slain in the attack. Nasser Karimi And Jon Gambrell, USA TODAY, "Iran's Supreme Leader weeps at Gen. Qasem Soleimani’s funeral as masses mourn," 6 Jan. 2020 Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself prayed over the caskets of Soleimani and others slain in the attack. Author: Nasser Karimi, Jon Gambrell, Anchorage Daily News, "Iran holds massive funeral for US-slain commander amid calls for vengeance," 6 Jan. 2020 In 1980, the bodies of four American churchwomen slain in El Salvador two days earlier were unearthed. BostonGlobe.com, "In 1942, during World War II, US bombers struck the Italian mainland for the first time with a raid on Naples. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration, which had been created to provide jobs during the Depression.," 4 Dec. 2019 The former Navy sailor was sentenced to die in 2008 after Alameda County investigators linked his DNA to five young women slain in 1985: Betty Stuart, 22; Diane Stone; 17; Talita Dixon, 13; Monique Davis, 18; and Beverly Bryant, 24. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Francisco Bay Area serial killer dies on death row," 18 Oct. 2019 The incident in Oregon was one of 18 mass killings in which family members were slain, and one of six that didn’t involve a gun. USA TODAY, "US mass killings hit a record high in 2019: 'This seems to be the age of mass shootings'," 30 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about slay

Time Traveler for slay

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for slay

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Slay.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slay. Accessed 27 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for slay

slay

verb
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

slay

verb
\ ˈslā How to pronounce slay (audio) \
slew\ ˈslü \; slain\ ˈslān \; slaying

Kids Definition of slay

Other Words from slay

slayer noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on slay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for slay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with slay

Spanish Central: Translation of slay

Nglish: Translation of slay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of slay for Arabic Speakers

Comments on slay

What made you want to look up slay? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

one that suddenly gains wealth or power

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!