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

Despite this expansion, the new car is really rather slippery, with a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.27. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The 2019 Jetta review: A quintessentially American Volkswagen," 4 Oct. 2018 Tegus aren’t the only scaly or slippery invaders in Florida. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "How Florida fends off its slippery, scaly invaders," 6 Mar. 2018 In wet and slippery conditions both keepers were kept on their toes. Afp,, "Ligue 1 Recap: Marseille stumble in bid for Champions League spot," 29 Apr. 2018 Rainfall made the metal beams slippery, and for the riveting teams erecting the buildings’ steel skeletons, there was no fence to block a fall. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "A Friendship Turned to Rivalry. A Feud That Changed the New York Skyline.," 27 Mar. 2019 Winter ice sports depend on this one fact: Ice is slippery. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The surprising science of why ice is so slippery," 31 Jan. 2019 Most of the time, these tires—kit with the track package ($2,995), along with rear wing and front carbon-fiber splitter—made driving the ZR1 like wrestling a giant bipolar eel: powerful, slippery, hard to get a grip. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Corvette ZR1: The Last, and Best, of Its Kind," 28 Nov. 2018 After applying conditioner, Rinse with cold water until your hair is slightly slippery. Jillian Ruffo, Seventeen, "8 Insanely Easy Tips For The Softest Hair Of Your Life," 28 Nov. 2018 Some pitchers who move from Japan to the U.S. struggle with the grip and release of major league baseballs, which tend to feel a little more slippery than those used in Japan. Mike Digiovanna,, "Angels are impressed with Shohei Ohtani's first bullpen session, but Ohtani wants to be better," 16 Feb. 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

10 May 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
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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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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behavior toward others

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