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

My usual testing on the curves can be hazardous to one’s health on slippery roads, but the handling still showed a sporty side for a largish SUV. Scott Sturgis,, "BMW X3 gets a redesign for 2018," 28 June 2018 Officials responded to 10 crashes on state highways in Massachusetts Monday morning, collisions resulting from the wet April snow and slippery roads, State Police said. Elise Takahama,, "Wet April snow leads to 10 crashes on state highways," 2 Apr. 2018 The slippery roads during the evening commute only made the traffic worse. Hailey Branson-potts,, "Trump's visit draws fans cheering him to 'Make America Great Again' — and foes venting their anger directly at him for first time," 14 Mar. 2018 From the District and to the south and east, while some frozen precipitation and slippery roads cannot be ruled out, temperatures may be just high enough that the precipitation is more a rainy nuisance than a snowy and icy hazard. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "Wintry mix likely Saturday night with best chance of snowfall north of D.C.," 15 Feb. 2018 Impacts Because of the recent cold weather, snow that falls should stick — which means untreated roads will become slippery. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "Some nuisance light snow likely tonight, but more to the north and south," 16 Jan. 2018 In much of the country, fall injuries rise during the winter months when walkways become slippery and trip hazards are obscured by snow, ice or, in some areas, by leaves. Jane E. Brody, New York Times, "How to Prevent Falls," 8 Jan. 2018 Mama's Dumplings are slippery and tender, stuffed with pork, ginger and cabbage and bobbing in a bowl of straightforward soy broth. Todd A. Price,, "Luvi's chef tells a deliciously beautiful story: First look review," 22 May 2018 When hundreds of millions of dollars are on the line, however, investors should expect transparency — not slippery and confusing language masquerading as industry jargon. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "How to Lose $700 Million, Theranos-Style," 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

11 Oct 2018

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

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


one that holds something together

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