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

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.”
Recent Examples on the Web Vo’s hypnotic prose blends metaphor with magic so seamlessly that reality itself becomes slippery. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, 17 June 2022 With its oceanfront swim-up suites and sparkly water park covered in slippery slides and slime, Nickelodeon was a vibe. Essence, 15 June 2022 This kind of slippery-slope narrative can hardly help holding our attention, even if Rick does little to maximize its tension, keeping violence mostly off-screen and maintaining a pace that’s far from taut. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 15 June 2022 The novel’s crucial and most deftly handled scene comes early when Mottley first explores the slippery continuum between rape and prostitution. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 14 June 2022 As the project moves forward, the lake’s water level must be lowered, leaving the boat launch ramps inaccessible, and exposing slippery, muddy banks that will be unsafe for public access, said Arian Collins, a city spokesperson, in an email. Joe Tash, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 May 2022 Testers unanimously rated the fabric smooth, yet not too slippery. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, 17 May 2022 The foal, who would become Medina Spirit, was all legs and as slippery as a seal. New York Times, 6 May 2022 Michael Peterson's slippery take on the truth Absolutely. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 2 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of slippery

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for slippery

slipper entry 1 + -y entry 1

Note: As the earliest occurrence of slippery appears to be in the Coverdale Bible (1535, Psalm 35:6), it has been suggested that the addition of the suffix -y to the adjective slipper copies German schlipfferig in Luther's translation of the same passage (1534, present-day German schlüpfrig). The German word is ultimately from the same Germanic base as slip entry 5 (see Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology).

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Time Traveler for slippery

Time Traveler

The first known use of slippery was circa 1500

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Dictionary Entries Near slippery



slippery dick

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Statistics for slippery

Last Updated

19 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Slippery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for slippery


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

More from Merriam-Webster on slippery

Nglish: Translation of slippery for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of slippery for Arabic Speakers


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