slip·​pery | \ ˈsli-p(ə-)rē \
slipperier; slipperiest

Definition of slippery

1a : causing or tending to cause something to slide or fall slippery roads
b : tending to slip from the grasp a slippery fish
2a : not firmly fixed : unstable
b : not precise or fixed in meaning : ambiguous, elusive
3 : not to be trusted : tricky

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Other Words from slippery

slipperiness noun

Examples of slippery in a Sentence

The trails were muddy and slippery. Fish are slippery to hold. The sign cautions: “Slippery when wet.”
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Recent Examples on the Web

The winter theme also means lots of snowy areas, which include slippery surfaces for players to contend with. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Fortnite season 7 arrives with Santa, planes, and lots of snow," 6 Dec. 2018 All-wheel drive can be used on dry pavement, where four-wheel drive requires a slippery surface so that the front and rear ends can match speed without binding. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "How to Use Your 4WD System," 5 Dec. 2018 But go slowly, Taurus love, as diving into the psyche can be slippery. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What September's Taurus Horoscope Means for You," 30 Aug. 2018 In sport, the power delivery is the most rear-biased, but even in the most slippery conditions the Stinger will only send up to 50 percent of available torque to the front wheels. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The 2018 Kia Stinger review: Four cylinders good, six cylinders better," 3 Oct. 2018 Be prepared for slippery rocks, mud, and a few steep drop-offs along the way. Sunset, "Hawaii’s Best Trails for Every Hiker," 22 Jan. 2018 Tough and slippery, cartilage cushions the ends of bone, allowing them to glide past each other. Bradley J. Fikes,, "Seeking financial security, Scripps Research is taking its science directly to patients," 24 June 2018 Earlier, the president tweeted this, quote, 'what is taking so long with the inspector general's report on crooked Hillary and slippery James Comey? Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway blasts media's Melania conspiracy theories," 6 June 2018 When hundreds of millions of dollars are on the line, however, investors should expect transparency — not slippery & confusing language masquerading as industry jargon. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Term Sheet -- Friday, May 4," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'slippery.' 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 slippery

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for slippery

alteration of Middle English slipper

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Statistics for slippery

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for slippery

The first known use of slippery was circa 1500

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More Definitions for slippery



English Language Learners Definition of slippery

: difficult to stand on, move on, or hold because of being smooth, wet, icy, etc.

: not easy to understand or identify in an exact way

: not able to be trusted


slip·​pery | \ ˈsli-pə-rē \
slipperier; slipperiest

Kids Definition of slippery

1 : having a surface smooth or wet enough to make holding onto or moving or standing on difficult a slippery fish A man fell on the slippery walk.
2 : not to be trusted : tricky a slippery politician

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More from Merriam-Webster on slippery

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for slippery

Spanish Central: Translation of slippery

Nglish: Translation of slippery for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of slippery for Arabic Speakers

Comments on slippery

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