\ ˈsləm How to pronounce slum (audio) \
plural slums

Definition of slum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a densely populated usually urban area marked especially by poverty


slummed; slumming; slums

Definition of slum (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to visit slums especially out of curiosity broadly : to go somewhere or do something that might be considered beneath one's station sometimes used with it slumming it in budget hotels

Other Words from slum


slummer noun

Examples of slum in a Sentence

Noun He grew up in the slums of New York. His house is a slum. Verb He sometimes likes to go slumming in bars around the city.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In addition, more than 470 people have been killed, injured or disappeared in less than a week amid gang fights in the nearby Cite Soleil slum, according to the United Nations. DÁnica Coto,, 29 July 2022 In May, a police raid on another Rio favela killed 23 people, and last year, a shootout in a third slum left at least 29 people dead. Marina Lopes, Washington Post, 22 July 2022 The unemployed would be put to work in slum clearance, road building and other public works projects. Michael Bernick, Forbes, 19 July 2022 Imelda, governor of metro Manila, simply ordered the slum demolished and paved over, with 60 families carted to some vacant land 20 miles outside the capital, where they'd been dumped in a large field. David A. Andelman, CNN, 6 May 2022 Serafina Olegario, who, in 1974, is raising her infant son Carlinhos in a Brazilian slum after her married lover has rejected them both. Sun Sentinel, 22 June 2022 In July 2021, a group of drug traffickers approached the staff of a public vaccination site in a slum of Rio de Janeiro called Maré. Claudio Araujo, Scientific American, 18 May 2022 Farther afield, Werllayne Nunes realistically paints an exuberant girl in front of a Brazilian favela transformed from slum to wonderland by the insertion of fanciful gold-leaf domes. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 24 June 2022 For its projects, ruangrupa solicits accomplices: artists, of course, but also those otherwise stranded on the art world’s margins, like slum residents or factory workers. New York Times, 9 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The reasons vary — scripts change, directors don’t share the actors’ visions, studio executives meddle, actors slum for a payday, whatever. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 22 Apr. 2021 The already legendary guitarist gets extra kudos for slumming it and taking the tube to The O2, rather than a limo. Richard Smirke, Billboard, 19 Feb. 2020 After a couple of years slumming in Cincinnati, Hearn asked about writing for The Cincinnati Enquirer. Jeff Suess,, 4 Apr. 2018 What happens when Meryl Streep and Ryan Gosling, two heavenly creatures slumming it in Hollywood, meet up at a glitzy awards gala? Josh Duboff, HWD, 1 Feb. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'slum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of slum


1825, in the meaning defined above


1884, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for slum


origin unknown

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Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Slum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for slum


\ ˈsləm How to pronounce slum (audio) \

Kids Definition of slum

: a very poor crowded dirty section especially of a city

More from Merriam-Webster on slum

Nglish: Translation of slum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of slum for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about slum


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