\ 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)

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


slickly adverb
slickness noun

Synonyms for slick

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective His presentation was slick; his accent floated somewhere in the mid-Atlantic (Mr Grantham is English but has lived in America for ages). The Economist, "Buttonwood Jeremy Grantham on divesting from Big Oil," 9 Jan. 2020 The car wasn’t hit by an avalanche, but Frye said the roads were slick from falling snow. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Richardson Highway closed until Friday after avalanches near Paxson," 27 Dec. 2019 That means roads are expected to be slick during Monday morning’s commute. Caitlin Anderson, Twin Cities, "Twin Cities could see up to half a foot of snow for Monday morning commute, then an Arctic blast," 7 Dec. 2019 The weather forecast sounds chilly and wet, so streets and sidewalks could be slick. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "All 4 One Fun Run raises $30,000 for Westlake Elementary School: West Shore Chatter," 30 Oct. 2019 But Liverpool’s style is not, or at least does not immediately seem to be, as slick as Manchester City’s. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Liverpool’s Opponents: So Close, So Far, So Frustrated," 18 Oct. 2019 Yet, the story suggests, sometimes those who appear most strange or foreign are most trustworthy, while those who accommodate may merely be slick. Elizabeth Toohey, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘Pride and Prejudice,’ eh? What if Jane Austen were Muslim Canadian?," 6 June 2019 Alongside this new slick space, the dining room is vintage. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "$999K home on Detroit Golf Club course just got 2-year makeover," 4 Jan. 2020 Use caution as slick spots will develop on roads, especially as temps cool. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "Winter storm dumps snow and rain ahead of New Year's Eve," 30 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Roads could be slicked by as much as 2 inches of snow and up to three-quarters of an inch of ice approaching the New York border., "Your last Monday morning commute of the year will likely be miserable at best and impossible at worst.," 29 Dec. 2019 My hair slicked back, my ponytail pinned away, a white sailor’s cap perched on my head. Alex Marzano-lesnevich, Harper's magazine, "Body Language," 25 Nov. 2019 The surface of Thompson's slicked-down, short, blonde hair was covered in glittery purple stars. Marci Robin, Allure, "Emma Thompson’s Hair Went From Glittery Purple Stars to Bright Pink in a Single Day," 14 Nov. 2019 Hair bounced between eye-catching extremes, whether slicked down or free floating. Vogue, "The Best Street Style Beauty at London Fashion Week," 18 Sep. 2018 Early morning travelers around the Portland metro area should expect frosty conditions and possibly slick on and off ramps, bridges and other elevated surfaces Thursday. oregonlive, "Portland metro Thursday traffic: Last day for diverted holiday bus stops at Clackamas Town Center," 26 Dec. 2019 Despite being the largest freeway project in state history, there were no vendors, no live music and no kids on roller blades slicking across the fresh tar. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway is now open, after decades of debate," 21 Dec. 2019 Sparks flew, and my face was pelted with bits of ground pork and slicked with brine. Adam Shatz, The New Yorker, "My Life as a Child Chef," 18 Nov. 2019 Snow piles up in Maine and slicks roads seen in New Hampshire and Vermont Far northern Maine saw snow totals approaching a foot as the storm packing a wintry mix of precipitation moves through the region. Justin Carissimo, CBS News, "Arctic blast brings record-breaking temperatures across the U.S.," 12 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Well, this is the semi-permanent version of that: feathered, slick, and shiny arches that look perfectly groomed every day. Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "What Is Brow Lamination?," 17 Jan. 2020 Most of our area stays warm enough to keep the roads wet vs. white, but some slick or slushy spots are possible, especially in our near-western to northwestern suburbs. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: A mild morning before temperatures tumble. Wet snow possible late tonight.," 10 Dec. 2019 The slicks covered only around eight percent of the ocean's surface in a large coastal region off Hawai'i. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Major fish nurseries are awash in microplastics," 14 Nov. 2019 Researchers today published an ominous report showing that these slicks pack 126 times the concentration of microplastic as nearby surface waters, and eight times the density of plastic as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Wired, "Baby Fish Feast on Microplastics, and Then Get Eaten," 11 Nov. 2019 MJBizCon, cannabis' biggest trade show, is slick, well-heeled, popular and professional. Alicia Wallace, CNN, "Cannabis' largest trade show is pretty ordinary, and that's what the industry wants," 13 Dec. 2019 Ntamack helped launch early attacks with his slick passing and clever kicking, coolly slotted over two penalty goals and converted both of France’s tries. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ntamack learning to cope with pressure of a famed rugby name," 14 Oct. 2019 In the end, the styling really does feel ultra-slick and confident, just like the song. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "This British Singer-Songwriter Channels P. Diddy's Early-2000s Style in Her New Video," 3 Oct. 2019 Her hair was pulled back, slick and parted in the middle and her chunky diamond studs added just the right amount of sparkle to the ensemble. Erin Nicole Celletti, Teen Vogue, "Kendall Jenner Rocked a Runway Look to the 2019 Emmys, and People Loved It," 23 Sep. 2019

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

Time Traveler for slick

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for slick

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Slick.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for slick


How to pronounce slick (audio)

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on slick

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for slick

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with slick

Spanish Central: Translation of slick

Nglish: Translation of slick for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of slick for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about slick

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).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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