\ 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

Synonyms & Antonyms for slick

Synonyms: Adjective

artful, beguiling, cagey (also cagy), crafty, cunning, cute, designing, devious, foxy, guileful, scheming, shrewd, sly, subtle, tricky, wily

Synonyms: Verb

grease, lubricate, oil, wax

Antonyms: Adjective

artless, guileless, ingenuous, innocent, undesigning

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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


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

Defenseman Ivan Provorov, jumping into the offense, scored from the high slot after taking a slick feed from Wayne Simmonds, giving the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 17:57 left in the second. Sam Carchidi,, "Flyers fall to lowly Dallas in overtime, 3-2," 27 Mar. 2018 This outfit is slick, but wearing a coat in the office is just silly. Megan Gustashaw, GQ, "Michael B. Jordan Is a Man of Many Coats," 13 Feb. 2018 Temperatures are forecast to be cold enough when precipitation first moves in for untreated surfaces to be slick for both motorists and pedestrians. Greg Porter, Washington Post, "PM Update: Clouds build in overnight ahead of a icy and rainy Sunday," 3 Feb. 2018 These areas have experienced a high rate of volume for crashes under slick road conditions. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "How to avoid crashes with Indiana State Police's prediction map," 22 Feb. 2018 NORGE BANK Russia’s central-bank governor Elvira Nabiullina went one step further in December, breaking into song in a slick music video that also featured a dabbing babushka. Tom Fairless, WSJ, "Coming to a Festival Near You: Friendly Central Bankers," 28 May 2018 Barack Obama’s White House, for one, regularly came under fire for producing slick videos rather than taking questions. Gabriel Debenedetti, Daily Intelligencer, "Bernie Sanders Is Quietly Building a Digital Media Empire," 22 Apr. 2018 Tuesday's presentation included a speech from UO President Michael Schill and a slick video that gave those in attendance an idea how the new stadium will look. Ken Goe,, "The NCAA awards the 2019 and 2020 Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships to Texas," 19 Apr. 2018 The songs actually work against the production’s verisimilitude, calling to mind slick MTV videos rather than heartfelt emotion. Matthew J. Palm,, "Actors, not soundtrack, put the emotion in 'Proof'," 10 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Heard sported a mint green jumpsuit and multi-colored heels with her hair slicked for the outing, while Schnabel kept it casual in a light blue button down and navy pants. Ale Russian,, "Heating Up! Amber Heard and Vito Schnabel Hold Hands on Wimbledon Date," 9 July 2018 Growing up in Aleppo, Fadi, a handsome 18-year-old who wears his hair fashionably slicked back, was a keen soccer player until the accident happened shortly before the war . Cormac O'brien, The Christian Science Monitor, "Refugees in Ireland find their footing with soccer tournament," 5 July 2018 Hair that literally never sees strand out of place—even if it's simply slicked back into place with a high gloss grooming balm—looks infinitely good right now. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "6 Beauty Tricks to Steal from the Mens Runways, From Glitter Bangs to Straight Edge Bobs," 25 June 2018 His salt-and-pepper hair was slicked with gel, and tattoos snaked under the sleeve of his T-shirt. Lizzie Johnson,, "Regret haunts Wine Country fire hero: ‘I’ve never cried this much’," 13 July 2018 Broad, twisty egg noodles, slicked in luxurious, melted butter, are the ultimate comfort food. Claire Saffitz, Bon Appetit, "You're Never Too Old for Buttered Egg Noodles," 19 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This slick digipak, containing photos from the set, was put together under the supervision of Jimmy Page. Morgan Enos, Billboard, "Father's Day 2018: A Gift Guide for Classic Rock-Loving Dads," 7 June 2018 Summer brings crowds to the sandy beach along the lake and the stair-like trails up the bluffs, where rock climbers attempt to send routes on the slick quartzite. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin bucket list: 20 things you have to do," 17 May 2018 Massaro sanded down his accent and built a slick web presence. Alden Woods, azcentral, "Bentinho Massaro's Sedona Experiment: How the search for enlightenment led to a digital cult," 18 Apr. 2018 Cardi also went the glam route with her hair pulled back in a slick topknot. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Cardi B's Baby Shower Was as Extra as You Expected," 27 June 2018 For the grand occasion, Beckham kept things sleek and simple in a tuxedo and twinned with her husband who donned a slick suit. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Victoria and David Beckham Have a Twinning Couples Moment in Tailored Suits," 26 June 2018 Once marinated, cook the tenderloin slices undisturbed in a very hot nonstick skillet with a slick of vegetable oil. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appetit, "A Spicy Pork Tenderloin Bowl That's So Easy You Hardly Need This Recipe," 30 May 2018 In the Stelvio, this engine teams with ZF’s slick, eight-speed automatic gearbox to send its glad tidings to all four wheels. Al Haas,, "2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio: As fun as its unusual name," 10 Feb. 2018 After winning Sunday’s Overton’s 400 with a slick and somewhat controversial late move to pass Kyle Larson to take the checkered flag, Busch was greeted by loud boos from the crowd. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Kyle Busch to booing fans: 'I don't know what y'all are whining about'," 3 July 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

Phrases Related to slick

slick back/down

Statistics for slick

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for slick

The first known use of slick was in the 13th 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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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