\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

Maybe modern masculinity really is fragile enough that men can’t tidy up without pretending to symbolically slay the great mother dragon, embodiment of chaos, in an epic battle for order. Laurie Penny, Longreads, "Peterson’s Complaint," 12 July 2018 Corley looks gorgeous and definitely slayed this look. Sofia Mele, Billboard, "5 Things to Know About Chance the Rapper's Fiancee Kirsten Corley," 5 July 2018 Fourteen-year-old Millie Bobby Brown already has a Calvin Klein campaign under her belt, 16-year-old Caleb McLaughlin sat front row at New York Fashion Week, and every single one of the teens has consistently slayed on the red carpet. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Stranger Things's Sadie Sink Just Walked The Runway At Paris Fashion Week," 2 Mar. 2018 There have been performances to Beyoncé (Maé-Bérénice Méité slayed TBH), Disturbed (Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres gave us an emo middle school flashback), and China’s Yan Han danced to the Twilight soundtrack last night. Shannon Barbour, Cosmopolitan, "A Figure Skater Performed to the 'Twilight' Soundtrack and It'll Give You All the Feels," 16 Feb. 2018 The internet started buzzing after the music video's release that the man playing guitar at the beginning was Tracy Martin, father of the teen slain by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in 2012. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "That's not Trayvon Martin's dad in 'This Is America'," 8 May 2018 Three members of the Halder family are slain in their home, and police investigator Aaron Falk, who fled Kiewarra as a boy, must now confront a hostile community in an effort to discover the truth about the killings. John Connolly, Town & Country, "What to Read On Your Summer Vacation," 18 July 2017 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

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

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for slay

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

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More Definitions for slay



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

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


playful or foolish behavior

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