Share this entry

Share this page

slither

Syllabification: slith·er
Pronunciation: /ˈsliT͟Hər
 
/

Definition of slither in English:

verb

[no object]
1Move smoothly over a surface with a twisting or oscillating motion: I spied a baby adder slithering away
More example sentences
  • A variety of snakes twisted and slithered across his shoulders down to his fingertips as if they had a life of their own.
  • The ship seems to slither and move as if it's alive.
  • Then, above our heads soared three eagles, and not long after, an adder slithered calmly between our feet.
1.1Slide or slip unsteadily on a loose or slippery surface: we slithered down a snowy mountain track
More example sentences
  • Envelopes are rapidly slithering and sliding across the floor and plastic bags can be seen floating upwards as if they were balloons.
  • Just up the hill beyond, up which our wheels slithered and slid, we left the van at the roadside and unloaded the god-goodies we'd picked up in the small town on the way.
  • We watched spellbound as they rolled around in the deep mud, then slithered and slid up the muddy bank before playfully pushing each other back down the slope.
Synonyms
slide, slip, glide, wriggle, crawl;

noun

[in singular] Back to top  
A slithering movement: a snakelike slither across the grass
More example sentences
  • He dapples the piece with shadow, signs his name in a loose-wristed slither and slides the book forward.
  • Each rock was chosen and placed very precisely so that the pace of the water would change from a slither to a surge at various points along the waterfall's course.
  • Viro heard a slither, and a hiss, and looked above; from the rafters, a furred snake hung, its tail coiled upon a rotten wooded sign, the whitish paint flecked and gone.

Origin

Middle English: alteration of the dialect verb slidder, frequentative from the base of slide.

More
  • sledge from (Old English):

    The sledge that is a vehicle used on snow and ice came in the late 16th century from Dutch and is related to sled (Middle English), sleigh (early 18th century), slide (Old English), and slither (Middle English). Sleigh is from Dutch, and was originally adopted in North America. To take for a sleigh ride is a dated slang phrase meaning ‘to mislead’, from the use of sleigh ride for an implausible or false story or a hoax. A sleigh ride could also mean ‘a drug-induced high’—this went with the use of snow for cocaine in white powder form, an early 20th-century use for this Old English word. As a name for what we would now more usually call a sledgehammer, the other sledge is recorded in Old English and goes back to a root meaning ‘to strike’ and related to slay. A sledgehammer is a large, heavy hammer used for jobs such as breaking rocks and driving in fence posts, so to take a sledgehammer to crack a nut is to use a disproportionately forceful means to achieve a simple objective. The expression is recorded in the 1930s, but a decade earlier an American version use a sledgehammer to kill a gnat appears. In the 1970s Australian cricketers started sledging, or making offensive or needling remarks to opposing batsmen in an attempt to break their concentration. The idea behind the term is the crudity and lack of subtlety involved in using a sledge or sledgehammer.

Derivatives

slithery

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • So when the rain came down and the tracks got all muddy and slithery, it was a good time to put the X Trail through its paces.
  • I'm finally alerted by a creepy slithery, slippy step nearby on soppy, dew-saturated fallen leaves.
  • But Luskin's own record of slithery parsification forces us to assume that these words are carefully chosen to conceal rather than elucidate.

Words that rhyme with slither

dither, hither, swither, thither, whither, wither, zither

Definition of slither in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtɛnɪbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure