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 rocks are slippery, but Maksim keeps going, treading carefully. Paul Yoon, The Atlantic, "Person of Korea," 13 Mar. 2021 Falling snow and slippery roads were factors in the death of a 57-year-old man who died Wednesday evening when his vehicle went into a ditch in St. Louis County, authorities said. Star Tribune Staff, Star Tribune, "Driver killed in rollover on slippery St. Louis County road," 10 Mar. 2021 Because of freezing temperatures and large amounts of water used to fight the fire, the ground was slippery and caused several firefighters to fall, officials said. Megan Jones,, "Aurora firefighters battle multifamily home fire near downtown," 2 Mar. 2021 The melting snow and ice will re-freeze this evening and overnight causing slippery roads, sidewalks and parking lots. Dallas News, "Weekend warm up," 19 Feb. 2021 Target stores in San Antonio are open, though four locations in other parts of Texas are closed because of power outages and slippery roads. Madison Iszler, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio shoppers find empty shelves as grocers grapple with power outages, icy roads," 18 Feb. 2021 The National Weather Service in White Lake warns that road conditions could be slippery with low visibility. Slone Terranella, Detroit Free Press, "Up to 4 inches of snow expected in metro Detroit as winter weather advisory issued," 5 Feb. 2021 People driving in the Upper Hood River Valley and Central Columbia River Gorge today should expect slippery roads. oregonlive, "Portland metro Saturday weather: showers and a high in the upper 40s," 26 Dec. 2020 And now people are concerned what's left after shoveling sidewalks and driveways is freezing and will make the roads slippery. Mallika Kallingal, CNN, "Over 60 million under winter weather alerts as rain and snow impact the East Coast," 19 Feb. 2021

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

15 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Slippery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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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
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

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