\ 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



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 Even with Chris Paul — who had 31 points and seven assists and always seems to relish these moments against the Spurs — waiting to slay them. Jeff Mcdonald,, "Dejounte Murray’s career high helps San Antonio Spurs stop bleeding," 11 Feb. 2020 That year saw the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, when 11 worshipers were slain at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Erin Donaghue, CBS News, "Racially-motivated violent extremists elevated to "national threat priority," FBI director says," 5 Feb. 2020 After being rocked by rival Ohio State, Michigan now has an opportunity to slay another of the sports bluebloods and win 10 games for the fourth time under Harbaugh. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Why Alabama, Nick Saban could dread playing Michigan football in Citrus Bowl," 8 Dec. 2019 Now President Donald Trump is aiming to slay the monster. The Economist, "Tackling America’s giant hospital bill," 23 Nov. 2019 Theseus volunteers as one of the sacrificial victims and vows to slay the Minotaur. Amaranta Sbardella, National Geographic, "The monstrous Minotaur riveted ancient Greece and Rome," 1 Oct. 2019 Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker teamed together with Ronald Reagan in a political partnership that slew inflation, bringing it down from 12% to 4% in about 18 months. Stephen Moore, Washington Examiner, "The economy's unsung hero is low interest rates," 23 Jan. 2020 Birmingham police said De’Runnya Wilson, 25, was discovered slain inside a home in the city’s southwest side. Carol Robinson |, al, "Ex-football standout De’Runnya Wilson found slain in southwest Birmingham house," 21 Jan. 2020 Clark and Hampton were the 27th and 28th Panthers slain that year, while, in coming years, dozens of other leaders and members, including Bobby Seale, Geronimo Pratt and Angela Davis were imprisoned or were on the run from the law. William Lee,, "In 1969, charismatic Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton was killed in a hail of gunfire. 50 years later, the fight against police brutality continues," 3 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

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Slay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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