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 Wisconsin State Patrol on Monday posted video on its Twitter feed of how not to drive in slippery, snowy conditions on a freeway. Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State Patrol posts video of how not to drive in a snowstorm," 10 Feb. 2020 The weather service advises drivers to plan on slippery road conditions and travel with caution. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Snow, freezing rain likely to greet commuters this evening and Thursday morning," 5 Feb. 2020 More than 1,200 flights were canceled at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports as the storms brought slippery conditions, freezing rain and wind gusts up to 50 mph. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "11 dead as tornadoes, heavy rain, wicked winds lash southern US, Midwest," 12 Jan. 2020 Snow covered roadways will result in slippery conditions and the National Weather Service is advising allowing extra time to travel this morning. Amy Huschka, Detroit Free Press, "Metro Detroit could get 1-3 inches of snow Tuesday morning," 31 Dec. 2019 Rodriguez also warned against sleet that has built up on busy highways and slippery conditions in intersections. Jessica Villagomez,, "Chicago Park District truck slides into Lake Michigan, bike path closed, as light snow falls across Chicago area," 10 Dec. 2019 Light snow is making for slippery driving conditions in the Twin Cities Wednesday. Pioneer Press, Twin Cities, "Light snow makes for slippery roads across metro area, warmer temps on the way for the weekend," 13 Nov. 2019 The storm created slippery conditions across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Justin Carissimo, CBS News, "Arctic blast brings record-breaking temperatures across the U.S.," 12 Nov. 2019 Heavy rain didn’t help, but even taking the slippery conditions into account this before halftime was a scratchy game, littered with mistakes, low on imagination and largely devoid of structure. Jonathan Wilson,, "Drab Draw Between Arsenal and Manchester United Shows Major Flaws With Both Sides," 30 Sep. 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

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Slippery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 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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