\ ˈslik How to pronounce slick (audio) \
slicker; slickest

Definition of slick

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : having a smooth surface : slippery slick wet leaves
b : having surface plausibility or appeal : glossy slick advertising
c : based on stereotype : trite slick stories soon forgotten
2a : characterized by subtlety or nimble wit : clever especially : wily a slick swindler
b : deft, skillful a slick ballplayer
3 : extremely good : first-rate
4 archaic : sleek sense 1


slicked; slicking; slicks

Definition of slick (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

: to make sleek or smooth

intransitive verb

: spruce usually used with up



Definition of slick (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : something that is smooth or slippery especially : a smooth patch of water covered with a film of oil
b : a film of oil
2 : an automobile tire made without a tread for maximum traction (as in drag racing)
3 : an implement for producing a smooth or slick surface
4 : a shrewd untrustworthy person
5 : a popular magazine printed on coated stock and intended to appeal to sophisticated readers
6 slang : a military helicopter without armaments that is used to transport troops or light cargo



Definition of slick (Entry 4 of 4)

dated, informal
: in a smooth or clever manner "I must say they did it slick enough. They were old hands at the business."— Jack London

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from slick


slickly adverb
slickness noun

Synonyms for slick

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for slick


sleek, slick, glossy mean having a smooth bright surface or appearance. sleek suggests a smoothness or brightness resulting from attentive grooming or physical conditioning. a sleek racehorse slick suggests extreme smoothness that results in a slippery surface. slipped and fell on the slick floor glossy suggests a highly reflective surface. photographs having a glossy finish

sly, cunning, crafty, wily, tricky, foxy, artful, slick mean attaining or seeking to attain one's ends by guileful or devious means. sly implies furtiveness, lack of candor, and skill in concealing one's aims and methods. a sly corporate raider cunning suggests the inventive use of sometimes limited intelligence in overreaching or circumventing. the cunning fox avoided the trap crafty implies cleverness and subtlety of method. a crafty lefthander wily implies skill and deception in maneuvering. the wily fugitive escaped the posse tricky is more likely to suggest shiftiness and unreliability than skill in deception and maneuvering. a tricky political operative foxy implies a shrewd and wary craftiness usually involving devious dealing. a foxy publicity man planting stories artful implies indirectness in dealing and often connotes sophistication or cleverness. elicited the information by artful questioning slick emphasizes smoothness and guile. slick operators selling time-sharing

Examples of slick in a Sentence

Adjective Be careful as you drive home—the roads are slick. big corporations and their slick lawyers The new kid had some slick moves on the basketball court. The students did a slick job of promoting the concert. The video game has slick graphics. Verb The rain slicked the roads. slicking the bottom of their skis with wax
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That is expected to cause ice and snow that melts during the day to refreeze and create slick roads. Saphora Smith, NBC News, "Power comes back for most in Texas, but other problems pile up," 19 Feb. 2021 Here’s the precipitation forecast for the entire state for today: The National Weather Service continued to warn Alabamians — even those in areas not affected by freezing rain today — that slick roads may be an issue overnight. Leigh Morgan, al, "Watch out for black ice tonight on roads across Alabama," 15 Feb. 2021 There could be a few slick spots Monday morning, but the bulk of our next storm does not arrive until late Monday night and during the day on Tuesday. Dave Epsein,, "Two storms this week will impact travel," 14 Feb. 2021 While significant accumulations were not expected, the National Weather Service cautioned of icy or slick roads in some areas. Dallas News, "Freezing rain causes icys roads across Dallas-Fort Worth early Saturday ahead of major winter storm," 13 Feb. 2021 However, the storm’s impact will be mitigated by several factors: Something to watch for will be falling temperatures Sunday night, which could cause wet or slushy areas to refreeze, resulting in slick, untreated roads and walkways Monday morning. Washington Post, "A pasty snow may fall heavily Sunday morning in D.C. area," 6 Feb. 2021 The National Weather Service is warning everyone who plans to drive on the night of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to be cautious of slick roads. Slone Terranella, Detroit Free Press, "Metro Detroiters may wake up to light dusting of snow — not winter wonderland," 25 Dec. 2020 Although the company's slick renderings of the cabin interior show six seats, there are only four seats in the first version of SpaceShipTwo. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Virgin Galactic’s stock price drops following failed spaceflight attempt," 14 Dec. 2020 Emergency crews in Oklahoma City responded Monday morning to a pileup of at least 15 cars on a slick interstate. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, "At least 15 vehicles involved in pileup on icy Oklahoma City interstate," 8 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At another appearance at the festival, her rosy pink hair was slicked-back and accessorized with bobby pins. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Kristen Stewart's Hair Is Pastel Pink Now and She Looks Stunning," 16 Sep. 2019 McDermott’s first scene has no dialogue, as Eddie — an aging rake with a pencil mustache and slicked-back silver hair — observes Jack from down the bar. Darren Franich,, "Hollywood review: Ryan Murphy's showbiz dramedy splits EW's critics," 29 Apr. 2020 Worn with slicked back hair and a signature red lip, the sweeping tulle didn’t overwhelm its petite wearer. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Christina Aguilera Has a Message for Couture Fashion Week," 3 July 2019 George was a presence, over 6 feet tall, with a massive gut, cold blue eyes, slicked-back graying hair, and a trademark Cuban shirt that tried to contain the gut. David E. Petzal, Field & Stream, "What Happens When Yankees Deer Hunt with Rebels?," 13 Mar. 2020 Dressed in a gray suit with his hair slicked back, Foote spent much of the night whistling loudly, applauding at odd moments and speaking loudly to his seat mates during honoree’s speeches. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Sean Penn Reveals Feature Documentary About Haitian Relief Efforts by Filmmaker Don Hardy," 16 Jan. 2020 Using an immersion blender directly in the pot, puree the liquid and the remaining tender vegetables — this will give the gravy a sweet taste and enough body to slick over the brisket. Paul Stephen,, "Recipe: Wise Sons’ Passover Brisket," 8 Apr. 2020 Starting from the temples, Spence works the molding paste into the hair to slick it down — alternating between brushing it through with the spooley and flattening it with his fingers. Devon Abelman, Allure, "How to Lay and Wave Your Edges With a Spooley, According to a Pro Hairstylist," 3 Apr. 2020 Using an immersion blender directly in the pot, puree the jus and the remaining tender vegetables — this will give the gravy a sweet taste and enough body to slick over the brisket. Rachel Levin,, "Wise Sons’ brisket recipe for Passover," 2 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Is the coating slick or rough, and will that impact the gun’s operation? Natalie Krebs, Outdoor Life, "The Evolution of Shotgun Coatings: From Blued Barrels to (Mostly) Impervious Firearm Finishes," 11 Jan. 2021 At dawn the sea is a slick of pink in the small cove near our house in Portland. Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, Vogue, "One Writer Makes the Case for Cold-Water Swimming This Winter," 23 Dec. 2020 This slick-as-heck 4TB, USB 3 hard drive by WD will cover your storage needs for a quite a while. Billy Cadden, Popular Science, "Desk accessories to make your workday more productive, cheerful, and disaster-proof," 21 Dec. 2020 While summer tires are nearly solid rubber, in the manner of a racing slick, and all-season tires have abundance tread grooves to flush away water, winter tires need large openings to pack in snow. Dan Carney, Popular Science, "Everything you thought you knew about winter tires but didn’t," 12 Dec. 2020 Bullets continued to rain down in the water and Coburn now faced an approaching slick of flaming oil from the USS Arizona explosion. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Locked-down Pearl Harbor vet recalls fateful events 79 years ago today," 7 Dec. 2020 Striking satellite images show the resulting oil spill weaving a black slick between the mainland at Pointe D’Esny and the flat round island of Ile-aux-Aigrettes. Adam Moolna, Quartz Africa, "Mauritius is reeling from a devastating oil spill and fears of an ecological disaster," 12 Aug. 2020 And chemical dispersants, which spread oil through the water column to prevent a slick that smothers seabirds, cause a new set of problems, says marine pollution researcher Jørgensen. Cathleen O’grady, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Race to Study Arctic Waters," 4 Nov. 2020 Shaver was considered a pioneer or founding father of outlaw country music, which was an antidote to the slick, Nashville productions of the 1960s in the same way that punk responded to the bloated, arena-rock excesses of the ’70s. Geoff Edgers, Washington Post, "Nobody wrote songs like Billy Joe Shaver," 29 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'slick.' 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 slick


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for slick


Middle English slyke; akin to Old English *slician


Middle English sliken, from Old English *slician; akin to Old High German slīhhan to glide

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about slick

Time Traveler for slick

Time Traveler

The first known use of slick was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for slick

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Slick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for slick



English Language Learners Definition of slick

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: very smooth and slippery
: clever in usually a dishonest or deceptive way
: skillful and clever



English Language Learners Definition of slick (Entry 2 of 3)

: to make (something) smooth and slippery



English Language Learners Definition of slick (Entry 3 of 3)

: a thin layer of liquid that makes a surface very slippery
: a smooth tire that is used in car racing


\ ˈslik How to pronounce slick (audio) \
slicked; slicking

Kids Definition of slick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make sleek or smooth He slicked his hair.



Kids Definition of slick (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having a smooth surface : slippery slick pavement
2 : tricky sense 2 a slick salesman
3 : having skill and cleverness She made some slick moves during the game.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on slick

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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