\ 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

greased, greasy, lubricated, oiled, slicked, slippery, slippy, slithery

Synonyms: Verb

grease, lubricate, oil, wax

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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

Across the country, wellness culture is in mid-bloom, a thriving business centered around influencers, quick-fix supplements, and slick, costly athleisure apparel. Angie Jaime, Teen Vogue, "The Aniwa Gathering Connected Me to My Indigenous Ancestors," 2 Aug. 2019 One propaganda poster depicted an enemy’s sabre, slick with blood. The Economist, "A history of humankind’s enemy number one," 1 Aug. 2019 Of course, there’s little else like Wildermiss in Colorado at the moment — melodic and guitar-driven, slick and passionate, rhythmically sophisticated yet happy to flex its mastery of song-building basics. John Wenzel, The Know, "Exclusive: Wildermiss reveals new album, video for “Hell or High Water”," 14 June 2019 The course was evidently playable, but the spectators’ paths through it and along the fairways were slick and shiny with mud. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Inside the Cultish Dreamworld of Augusta National," 14 June 2019 The fake blood caused slick conditions on the road, Portland police spokeswoman Lt., "Protestors spill fake blood in front of Portland ICE headquarters," 19 July 2019 The temperature dropped more than 20 degrees, forcing the teams to adapt on the fly after the cars had been set up for hot, slick conditions. Jay Cohen,, "Alex Bowman wins at Chicagoland," 30 June 2019 The temperature dropped more than 20 degrees, forcing the teams to adapt on the fly after the cars were set up for hot, slick conditions. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Tucson's Alex Bowman becomes first Arizona driver to win NASCAR Cup Series race," 30 June 2019 The slick conditions may have contributed to a frightening moment in the fifth inning when Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson sprained his right ankle on a fielding play. Doug Alden,, "Bogaerts homers as Red Sox beat White Sox in rain," 26 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Unlike Roman, who slicks his hair back but often refuses to wear a tie, Greg can’t pull off snotty dishevelment. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Let’s Talk About the Clothes on “Succession”," 6 Sep. 2019 The jerk chicken, in particular, is among the best offered in all of metro Detroit, featuring all-thigh meat slicked black like an oil spill radiating with Scotch bonnet heat and spices. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Our restaurant critic's 12 favorite metro Detroit dishes from the first half of 2019," 28 June 2019 Her slicked back hair and dramatic cat eye completed the look. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sophie Turner Gets Futuristic in Louis Vuitton for X-Men Premiere," 28 May 2019 In the picture, Stoddard projects a roguish, matinée-idol aura, with slicked-down hair and a black mustache. Ian Frazier, The New Yorker, "When W. E. B. Du Bois Made a Laughingstock of a White Supremacist," 19 Aug. 2019 In a dark room lit by oil lamps, a man with slicked-back gray hair and the face of an executioner sits at a large table stacked to the ceiling with files. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Trump the Opera—II," 26 Dec. 2018 Belle Isle is famous for its lobster roll, brimming with meat barely slicked with mayonnaise, with a little lettuce for crunch. Globe Staff,, "Where to take your kids to eat this summer vacation," 16 July 2019 His slicked-back hair in combination with peg-leg jeans and loafers looks like something straight out of the '50s. 2. Ellise Shafer, Billboard, "As G-Eazy Guns for Elvis Movie Role, Here Are 6 Times He Channeled The King," 8 July 2019 Getty Images The daring look, which Sophie snapped up an entire year ahead of its release, was contrasted with totally effortless, barely there beauty, pairing wet look, slicked back hair with simple, immaculate eyeliner and fresh skin. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Sophie Turner Wore a Naked Chainmail Dress at the 'Dark Phoenix' Premiere," 28 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Students aren’t required to attend, though; lectures are recorded in a slick, multi-camera format with production values that rival commercial TV, and most students watch them online. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "How Harvard’s Most Popular Class Became a ‘Lifestyle’," 29 Aug. 2019 To get the edges of your dreams, the brand recommends their three-step process: slick, swoop, and define. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "3 Top Tips For Laying Your Edges," 28 Aug. 2019 Despite all the runs and belting that Khalid can do, his voice rings hollow, an untethered reverberation against slick, genre-melding production. Washington Post, "Khalid’s hits play better on Spotify than at Capital One Arena," 5 Aug. 2019 Not his best surface, but a slick and efficient mover, playing well of late, whose grass season includes a win over Zverev. 22. Jon Wertheim,, "2019 Wimbledon Seed Reports," 28 June 2019 There is also significantly less congestion at thirty thousand feet than on the road—no pedestrians, children, bicycles, potholes, construction zones, ice slicks, mattresses, or any of the other innumerable hazards that car drivers routinely face. Liaquat Ahamed, The New Yorker, "The Mail," 26 Aug. 2019 Strategy related to chum slicks that serve as the dinner bell matter. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Toothy air show wows as local guide fly-fishes for mako sharks," 12 July 2019 Olivier Giroud's suave slick-back has led to the Frenchman being labelled as 'the sexiest man in football'., "50 Most Unforgettable Haircuts in World Football," 10 July 2019 On the outside, there are revolving license plates, front and rear battering rams, a bullet shield aft of the rear window that can be raied, and both an oil-slick system and a smokescreen system capable of shooting out of the taillights. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "Check Out the Aston Martin DB5 Continuation's Working James Bond Gadgets," 14 May 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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Statistics for slick

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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)

: 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with slick

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


to make a temporary encampment

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