Definition of slew
- past tense of slay
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He slewed the telescope three degrees south.
First Known Use: circa 1769See Words from the same year
He has written a slew of books.
we still have a slew of work to do on this project
Slew appeared as an American colloquialism in the early 19th century. Its origins are unclear, but it is perhaps taken from the Irish "slua," a descendant of Old Irish slúag, meaning "army," "host," or "throng." "Slew" has several homographs (words that are spelled alike but different in meaning, derivation, or pronunciation) in English. These include: "slew" as the past tense of the verb "slay"; "slew" as a spelling variant of "slough," a word which is also commonly pronounced \SLOO\ and which means "swamp," "an inlet on a river," or "a creek in a marsh or tide flat"; and the verb slew, meaning "to turn, veer, or skid."
First Known Use: 1839See Words from the same year
: to turn or slide in another direction very quickly
: a large number of people or things
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