\ 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

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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 Special Ed may have been a rapper from New York, but his slick style would foreshadow a lot of music that came out of the West Coast in the 1990s. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, "200 greatest hip-hop songs of all time," 13 Apr. 2021 The slick, 60-second commercial shows a boy playing at dusk, toting his golf bag on his back, not another soul visible across the verdant course to witness his leap of joy. Susan Page, USA TODAY, "Exclusive: John Boehner says Donald Trump 'abused' his loyalists by lying to them," 11 Apr. 2021 There were about 1,000 fans in the seats when the game began, and by the time Jesús Aguilar walked up to the batter’s box, the infield dirt was shiny and slick from water. Ronald Blum,, "Marlins-Mets rained out after nine pitches, will be played Aug. 31," 11 Apr. 2021 Watch for slick spots on the roads during the early commute. oregonlive, "Portland metro Thursday weather: Lingering showers early, breezy, then clearing; high 52," 8 Apr. 2021 However, any untreated roadways could have some slick spots, especially on bridges and overpasses as road temperatures are hovering around the freezing mark. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, "Cincinnati weather: Cold weather is here to stay with daytime highs in the 40s," 1 Dec. 2020 Temperatures in outer Washington and Yamhill counties were at or near freezing by 5 a.m. Travelers in the rural areas of those counties should watch out for slick spots on roadways, sidewalks and bridges. oregonlive, "Portland metro Friday weather: Dry and sunny after morning clouds; high 57," 26 Mar. 2021 Originally from Conway, Arkansas, the 26-year-old, née Reggie Gavin, has delivered hilarious performances, compelling lip-synchs, and some of the season's best runway moments — all with her skin slick and shining with baby oil. Jihan Forbes, Allure, "How Symone Came Up With Her Most Iconic Drag Race Looks," 10 Mar. 2021 Crews in Maryland, Virginia and the District have been out overnight and in the early morning treating roads, but officials warned that overpasses and bridges may still have slick spots and black ice. Washington Post, "Officials warn commuters face slick roads, sidewalks," 19 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Drew Timme had 23 points and five rebounds and, after one dunk, pretended to slick down his handlebar mustache for the few thousand fans in the stands. Eddie Pells, ajc, "Quite a show: Zags stay undefeated with 85-66 win over USC," 31 Mar. 2021 Drew Timme had 23 points and five rebounds and, after one dunk, pretended to slick down his handlebar mustache for the few thousand fans in the stands. Eddie Pells, Star Tribune, "Quite a show: Zags stay undefeated with 85-66 win over USC," 31 Mar. 2021 Drew Timme had 23 points and five rebounds and, after one dunk, pretended to slick down his handlebar mustache for the few thousand fans in the stands. Eddie Pells, ajc, "Quite a show: Zags stay undefeated with 85-66 win over USC," 31 Mar. 2021 Drew Timme had 23 points and five rebounds and, after one dunk, pretended to slick down his handlebar mustache for the few thousand fans in the stands. Kristen Davis, cleveland, "Gonzaga Final Four gear: Where to buy shirts, hats | NCAA Tournament 2021," 30 Mar. 2021 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Leaving the attention to the face, hairstylist extraordinaire Nikki Nelms crafted a side-part slick-back that boasted a subtle wet look and was finished by a small upward flip. Blake Newby, Essence, "Let's Talk Jurnee Smollett's Sultry SAG Awards Beauty Look," 4 Apr. 2021 On Tuesday, during the 100-mile round trip to tend to his cattle, Edwards’ truck stalled on an incline slick with ice. Melissa B. Taboada And Sarah M. Vasquez, Chron, ""One thing after another": Rural Texans faced the same storm - with unique hardships," 25 Feb. 2021 Of course, a storm doesn't even have to come close to the slick to cause havoc, as Alex proved. David Biello, Scientific American, "How Will a Hurricane Affect the Oil Spill?," 15 July 2010 Globules of tar first started appearing on Israel's coastline on Feb. 19 after a winter storm drove the slick to shore. Fox News, "Israel suspects Iran connection to Mediterranean oil spill," 4 Mar. 2021 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

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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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

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Slick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on slick

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