\ˈslik \

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)

informal, dated

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

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Other Words from slick


slick adverb
slickly adverb
slickness noun

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


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.


The rain slicked the roads. slicking the bottom of their skis with wax
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

If Google is to launch a gaming platform, its presentational savvy—the ability the company has to make using your technology feel slick, interesting, and healthily interconnected—will have to be the backbone. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Can Google Really Launch a Viable Videogame Platform?," 7 July 2018 Senior attacker TJ Malone made sure of that after securing a slick pass from junior midfielder Peter Garno. Aaron Carter,, "TJ Malone nets OT winner as Haverford School seals Inter-Ac title," 11 May 2018 Madame Macron again looked to Vuitton for her slick spin on the classic smoking suit, reworked in white with a contrasting peak lapel. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "In Belgium, Brigitte Macron and Melania Trump Are Style Opposites—But With a Similar Message," 11 July 2018 Either way, this is a whole new look for Dr. Love, who was slick and unflappable — right up until his mother arrives on the scene. Nina Metz,, "‘Claws’ Episode 3 recap: 5 things to know about ‘Russian Navy’ and the sinking of the S.S. Jen," 25 June 2018 The same rain showers that had passed over Atiu a few days earlier had also come through Rarotonga, making the rocks slick and portions of the path muddy and impossible. Christopher Muther,, "Cook Islands: The tropical paradise you need to visit before everyone else does," 13 June 2018 Keeping with the Brazilian’s style of play on the pitch, Neymar’s typical off-duty style is suave, slick and full of flair. Jamie Lisanti,, "Fashionable 50," 10 July 2018 But for now, the mud under our feet was slick and smooth, the air steamy and smelling of ancientness. Sunset, "Go on a Hot Springs Adventure in the Utah Desert," 22 Jan. 2018 Glossier's marketing is about as slick and irresistible as its millennial-pink packaging, and anyone's who's ever tried a mascara that claims to be flake-free and nonclumping (so, all of us) knows how few of them actually stack up to their claims. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "We Tried Glossier's Lash Slick Mascara, and These Are Our Honest Thoughts," 9 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Jet-black, squid-ink spaghetti is slicked with a squid stock, a sweet scallop puree, and a rucola sauce that hits a balancing bitter note. Stan Parish, WSJ, "‘Go Beyond Sushi’: Tokyo’s Culinary Gems," 19 June 2018 As for her hair, Jenner’s locks were slicked back in a low updo. Stephanie Petit,, "Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid Light Up Cannes on Glamorous Girls' Night," 13 May 2018 In Sport Bowling, balls slick their ways down alleys thanks to the oil coating the lanes. Cassie Owens,, "Strike! The Philly teen who won a college scholarship for bowling," 2 June 2018 Hairstylist Holli Smith slicked some models’ hair into two mini top knots with a stark center part. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Space Buns Are Dead. Long Live Mickey Mouse Buns.," 8 Mar. 2018 Her slicked-back high pony had major volume, and was embellished throughout with miniature flowers. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Andra Day Wore Flowers in Her Hair to Oscars 2018," 5 Mar. 2018 The punk look was part faux-hawk, part slicked back pony. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Chanel Shows Punk Ponytails at Couture Fashion Week," 3 July 2018 With Pat Riley’s slicked-back hair and designer suits, Jack Nicholson grinning on the sidelines and an up-tempo offense that was different than anything anyone had ever seen, the Showtime Lakers transcended sport. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Lakers hope LeBron will help them reclaim spotlight of Showtime era," 2 July 2018 Sivan’s hair is wet and platinum blond and slicked in curls cascading from his skull. Brennan Carley, GQ, "Troye Sivan Is on Top," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lingard of United scored a beautiful goal Sunday after a slick give-and-go with Sterling of City. Brian Straus,, "England's New Three Lions Appear to Be a Different Animal at This World Cup," 24 June 2018 Eric Marasheski, La Salle, infielder: The slick-fielding senior shortstop was voted the Catholic League’s defensive player of the year. Rick O'brien,, "Rick O'Brien's 2018 all-Southeastern Pennsylvania baseball team," 16 June 2018 The slick-fielding third baseman crushed a three-run homer to left center that push the lead to 4-0. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Five-run first inning sets tone for Burlington's victory over Chippewa Falls in state softball quarterfinals," 7 June 2018 Grenier, whose stock as a slick-fielding shortstop continues to soar, is pegged for a late-first to mid-second round selection. Ron Richmond For The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Nick Madrigal, Oregon State's other top MLB draft prospects keeping focus on Beavers' postseason," 3 June 2018 Racing tires, city slicks, off-road, folding bikes. Michael Calore, WIRED, "14 Essentials to Improve Your Bike Commute in the City," 17 May 2018 With Moffitt as editor and Whittle as publisher, Esquire was reborn—a slick, knowing guidebook, plump with ads, for young climbers in the Bright Lights, Big City era. Sam Tanenhaus, Town & Country, "Can Chris Whittle Launch a Truly Global School?," 10 July 2018 The country singer and American Idol coach cleaned up nice in a slick, tailored suit. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "CMT Music Awards: Carrie Underwood and more of the night's best-dressed stars," 7 June 2018 The conditions created a slick, 2 ½-mile track, and new cars with less downforce proved to be a handful for even the most experienced of drivers. Jenna Fryer, Houston Chronicle, "Will Power wins Indy 500, No. 17 for car owner Roger Penske," 27 May 2018

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.

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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

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Learn More about slick

Statistics for slick

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for slick

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

See more words from the same century

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More Definitions for slick



English Language Learners Definition of slick

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to make (something) smooth and slippery



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

: very smooth and slippery

: clever in usually a dishonest or deceptive way

: skillful and clever



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 \
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.

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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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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