\ 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 Cesari was a high-establishment artist, painting in an older style, celebrating panache even on those messy occasions when saints are slaying devils. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Art for Sale in Maastricht: Quality, Quality, Quality," 11 Mar. 2020 Utah had the eighth-highest number of missing and slain indigenous women in a nationwide study of 71 cities completed by the Urban Indian Health Institute several years ago. USA TODAY, "Golden Gate bison, prisoner paintings, dining with dogs: News from around our 50 states," 6 Mar. 2020 The location is behind the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport and less than a block away from where a man was found slain just two months ago. Carol Robinson |, al, "46-year-old man identified as body found on east Birmingham road," 28 Feb. 2020 Prove them all hella wrong by slaying an innocent animal and using its hide to symbolize your commitment to your freakin’ wife. Taylor Kay Phillips, The New Yorker, "Wedding Rings for Real Men," 14 Feb. 2020 Throughout this award season, she's shown up time and time again ready to strike a post and slay the carpet, and last night on the Oscars 2020 red carpet was no exception. Gianluca Russo, Teen Vogue, "How to Achieve Beanie Feldstein's Stunning Oscar's Hair Style," 11 Feb. 2020 As details of Wilson’s slaying emerged in the days after the killing, approximately 1,000 people took to the streets of Oakland, gathering for marches, vigils and rallies. Megan Cassidy,, "Nia Wilson murder trial: Surveillance footage shows teen’s brutal stabbing," 5 Feb. 2020 Can the David become a true Goliath by slaying the titans of the game? Dalton Ross,, "Nick Wilson on the perils of being the most recent winner in Survivor: Winners at War," 30 Jan. 2020 His salvo against America’s inflation in 1979, which slew the dragon for decades, therefore seemed unusually abrupt. The Economist, "Obituary: Paul Volcker died on December 8th," 12 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.

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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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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

31 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Slay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Apr. 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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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

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