slip·​pery | \ ˈsli-p(ə-)rē How to pronounce slippery (audio) \
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 pigskin and field at Cardinal Stadium might be a bit slippery. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "Get ready, Louisville football fans: Saturday's rainfall could break 100-year-old record," 25 Oct. 2019 This slippery-slope of transmutation provides new guardrails for how technology itself can become a new cult or religion, or at least a component of them. Stan Stalnaker, Quartz, "Technology-oriented religions are coming," 9 Oct. 2019 Shiv is ballsy and Machiavellian, Connor is pedantic and distant, Roman is slippery and numb, Kendall is overeager and underprepared. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "How Succession Skewers the Rich," 9 Sep. 2019 The slippery-slope factor adds to the confusion, as there’s no clear sense of when someone might be moving from enjoyment to dependence to more serious stages of abusing a pastime or substance. Amy Lindgren, Twin Cities, "Working Strategies: Careers and job search for people in recovery," 7 Sep. 2019 Conservatives didn’t always accept this slippery-slope theory so easily. Gilbert Garcia,, "Why Texas needs a special session on guns," 6 Sep. 2019 Given that the bowl brims with a choice of meat — make mine shaved eye of round, springy meatballs and slippery tendon — and add-ins including fresh herbs and bean sprouts, the regular size pho is plenty for this fan. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Tom Sietsema’s 8 favorite places to eat right now," 17 Dec. 2019 His movies are blunt but often ideologically slippery. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell Tries to Raise Up the Little Guy. But It Takes Unnecessary Shots in the Process," 10 Dec. 2019 That can be a slope as slippery as Lambeau Field in December. Barry Wilner,, "NFL’s Legends Community reaches 10,000 members," 26 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for slippery

Time Traveler

The first known use of slippery was circa 1500

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Statistics for slippery

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Slippery.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for slippery


How to pronounce slippery (audio)

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
informal : not able to be trusted


slip·​pery | \ ˈsli-pə-rē How to pronounce slippery (audio) \
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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Comments on slippery

What made you want to look up slippery? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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