\ 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 There’s nothing subliminal about the slick campaign to get Texans aboard its petition at Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Chevy seeks more Suburban cred as national vehicle of Texas," 7 Nov. 2019 BioLite also makes a slick KettlePot that works with the stove and doubles as a carrier. Graham Averill, Outside Online, "6 of Our Favorite Backpacking Stove Systems," 6 Nov. 2019 Jackson, the slick second-year quarterback, ran for 61 yards and two touchdowns and went 17 for 23 for 163 yards and a score. oregonlive, "New England Patriots no longer undefeated after losing to the Baltimore Ravens: Recap, score, stats and more," 3 Nov. 2019 Jackson, the slick second-year quarterback, ran for 61 yards and two touchdowns and went 17 of 23 for 163 yards and a score. David Ginsburg,, "Ravens solve Patriots’ defense, hand New England first loss," 3 Nov. 2019 And the company’s slick stage presentations helped turn tech execs into celebs and customers into devoted fans. New York Times, "Behind Apple’s ‘Slow-Roll’ Marketing Push for Its New Streaming Service," 1 Nov. 2019 Thinking about ways to keep adhesives strong in slick situations is an issue that comes up in a lot of industries, from cosmetics to construction. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Double-Sided Tape Inspired by Spiderwebs Could Revolutionize Surgery," 1 Nov. 2019 Our back line did a great job on the slick surface, especially Luke Crockett. Mark Schmetzer,, "Wyoming shuts out Monroe, advances to Division II regional championship," 31 Oct. 2019 Coyle potted a slick feed from David Krejci to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead in the second period. Quinn Waters,, "Charlie Coyle," 30 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Guests like June Ambrose and Rapsody brought the beauty with outstanding braids, a vinyl headwrap, and green and purple smoky eye makeup, while updos and slicked back hair were popular amongst other guests for the fundraiser. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "The Best In Beauty From Rihanna's Annual Diamond Ball," 13 Sep. 2019 The fullness of this warmed exemplar stands right up to a burger — piled with chili and slicked with yuzu Thousand Island dressing — that half the room seems to be powering through. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Los Angeles, this should be your sake spot," 22 Aug. 2019 Meanwhile, slick a medium sauté pan with 2 tablespoons oil. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, "This Rice Recipe Has Everything, Plus a Turmeric-Butter-Fried Egg," 11 July 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Golladay made a slick open-field move to get in the end zone on his 59-yard touchdown catch. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions grades: Coaching, defense fail again in brutal loss to Raiders," 4 Nov. 2019 Only 5:21 into the second, not long after the Sharks closed to within 2-1, the slick-handed Krejci picked up the primary assist on Coyle’s second goal in as many games., "“He’s a pro. He’s been around. He’s a Stanley Cup champion,” said coach Bruce Cassidy, enumerating the Krejci’s bonafides after the Bruins bumped their record to 9-1-2 (.833). “We need him to put that line along.”," 30 Oct. 2019 After a slick bounce pass to P.J. Tucker inside, Westbrook provided one of his familiar, signature moments, ripping the ball from Brandon Ingram and following a breakaway slam with a full-throated shout to the crowd to complete a 12-0 Rockets run. Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle, "Rockets slip past Pelicans for first win of season," 27 Oct. 2019 Yet for every slick feed to a backdoor cutter, there were three that bounced into the hands of defenders or skipped out of bounds. Rob Mahoney,, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020," 12 Sep. 2019 By comparison, Robinhood’s technicolor interface encourages users to buy and sell investments in a slick, smartphone-native environment. David Ingram, NBC News, "With confetti and cryptocurrency, stock app Robinhood nudges investors toward risk," 12 Sep. 2019 Olson started a slick double play the next inning, fielding a bouncer by D.J. LeMahieu and firing to Marcus Semien to get the out at second, and Semien went back to Petit covering at first to get LeMahieu and end the inning. Susan Slusser,, "Strong start by Bailey helps A’s top red-hot Yankees in series opener," 20 Aug. 2019 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

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

11 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Slick.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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

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