There are 2 main definitions of slap in English:


Syllabification: slap
Pronunciation: /slap

verb (slaps, slapping, slapped)

[with object]
1Hit (someone or something) with the palm of one’s hand or a flat object: my sister slapped my face
More example sentences
  • The boy smirked and reached out his palm, which was slapped extremely hard by the rest of his gang.
  • Julianna shouted, standing up and slapping her palms down flat on her desk.
  • A traffic cop pounced on them and, screaming abuses, began slapping one of the men, who could not even shield himself for fear that the cart would go out of control.
informal whack, thwack, wallop, bash, bop, slug, bust
archaic smite
1.1 [no object] Hit against or into something with the sound of a slap: water slapped against the boat
More example sentences
  • This can be done using metal to sound like thunder, or meat slapped against a block to imitate a punch.
  • Sweat soon coated her forehead and slicked her arms as her skin slapped against the skin of strangers.
  • The wrapper flew off, carried by its momentum, and slapped against the wall ten feet to my right.
1.2 (slap someone down) informal Reprimand someone forcefully.
More example sentences
  • But if it takes the judge's advice and includes all calls, the FTC will be slapped down by the Supreme Court for violating the First Amendment rights of politicians and charities.
  • A controversial councillor has been slapped down by his Labour colleagues over his proposal to change Bolton's name.
  • She slaps me down for asking his name: ‘It wouldn't mean anything to you,’ she says firmly.
1.3Put or apply (something) somewhere quickly, carelessly, or forcefully: slap on a bit of makeup
More example sentences
  • The girl took her hand off my mouth and quickly slapped a strip of duct tape over it.
  • He quickly slapped it away and yelled at her to get the hell out of there.
  • Megan quickly slapped her hand away from her mouth and gave her a reproving look.
fling, throw, toss, slam, bang
informal plunk
daub, plaster, spread
1.4 (slap something on) informal Impose a fine or other penalty on: the government had slapped an embargo on imports
More example sentences
  • The mum of a disabled boy today hit out at a parking warden who slapped a fine on their specially adapted car - because it overhung the bay.
  • The parking wardens have no problem and are very quick at slapping fines on people who park illegally around Portlaoise.
  • The get tough stance comes just a few weeks after parking attendants in the town were criticised for slapping fines on coaches picking up children from a Christmas pantomime.
impose, levy, put


Back to top  
1A blow with the palm of the hand or a flat object: he gave her a slap across her cheek
More example sentences
  • Hartnett said he was pushed by Laurence, and hit back in self-defence with a single slap with the palm of his hand.
  • His knocks on her door, once strong and quick, were now reduced to tired, dull slaps of his palm against the wood.
  • He hit the steering wheel with an angry slap of his palm.
1.1A sound made or as if made by a slap: she heard the slap of water against the harbor wall
More example sentences
  • At night the only sounds you might hear are the slap of ripples against the piers and the white noise hum of surf on the distant reef.
  • Then as I turned into the living quarters of his home, I heard the slap of water hitting the floor before my mind registered the sight before me.
  • The loud hiss of water and a loud slap of tile is heard as Aquila enters the shower, getting a shock from the heat of the water.


informal Back to top  
1Suddenly and directly, especially with great force: storming out of her room, she ran slap into Luke
More example sentences
  • It takes us slap bang into the world of three very different young women as they explore their first forays into the world of physical love.
  • What happens when improving people's quality of life runs slap bang into environmental limits?
1.1Exactly; right: we passed slap through the middle of an enemy armored unit
More example sentences
  • It appears the sticky-backed number which should have been attached to Luis' shorts came loose at the start, caught the wind and landed slap across his chops.
  • It lies eight miles in from the edge of the capital, slap under the final approach to Heathrow.
  • The only thing in favour of the Midland was that it was slap in the middle of town and a vastly more interesting building with rooms that were not meticulously square.


late Middle English (as a verb): probably imitative. The noun dates from the mid 17th century.


slap in the face

An unexpected rejection or affront.
More example sentences
  • The loss of announcers and the lack of moves called is a slap in the face and an insult to wrestling.
  • Now they insult all the victims or off-spring with this slap in the face.
  • That it was also a sacrilegious slap in the face to the Christian faith was little remarked upon.
rebuff, rejection, snub, insult, put-down, humiliation

slap someone around

Beat or hit someone repeatedly: The teachers knew to watch out to make sure none of the other kids got slapped around The people responsible need to be slapped around a little and forced to correct things
More example sentences
  • Just like a battered wife returning to her husband, we kept voting in the same bunch of bullies to slap us around a bit.
  • I don't beat my wife or slap my kid around.
  • Once confronted, Mitch flips out on Slim, slapping her around like she was a tossed salad.

slap on the back

Congratulations or commendations: they deserve a hearty slap on the back for their efforts
More example sentences
  • What's more, while an increase of 29% in operating cash flow deserves a hearty slap on the back, it's easier to report good quarters when the bar is lower.
  • Fox has done a nice job on this transfer and deserves a hearty slap on the back.
  • Each and every one of them deserves a big slap on the back.

slap someone on the back

Congratulate someone.
More example sentences
  • I simply will not tolerate this injustice on their behalf, yet do you see queues of harpies slapping me on the back and congratulating me?
  • But I recognized bodies around me, slapping me on the back and congratulating me as I made my way back to my seat at the back of the room.
  • Now, go slap Alex on the back in congratulations while I go look at this.

slap on the wrist

A mild reprimand or punishment.
More example sentences
  • Why do students think they can always break the law and be let off with just a reprimand or a slap on the wrist?
  • The reprimand is a slap on the wrist; nothing, no pain, nothing.
  • Hacking into computer networks was long seen as little more than a prank, and punishment was typically a slap on the wrist.
informal rap on/over the knuckles, dressing-down

Definition of slap in:

There are 2 main definitions of slap in English:


Line breaks: slap

Entry from British & World English dictionary


South African
1Lacking strength, energy, or discipline; ineffectual: the book took her three years to write because she was very slap
2(Of food) soft or runny: the chips were crisp outside and slap inside


Afrikaans, literally 'dangling, flabby'.

Definition of slap in: