Definition of slum in English:

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Pronunciation: /sləm/


1A squalid and overcrowded urban street or district inhabited by very poor people.
Example sentences
  • However, there is still a large segment of the population which lives in urban slums and poor rural areas without electricity or running water.
  • The appalling social situation in Iran has been highlighted by recent reports of protest marches in working class urban areas and slum districts.
  • The plague was only finally brought under control in 1666 when the Great Fire of London burned down the areas most affected by plague - the city slums inhabited by the poor.
hovel, rathole;
(slums) ghetto, shantytown, skid row, shacktown
1.1A house or building unfit for human habitation.
Example sentences
  • It is reasonable to argue that we should not be building today houses that are thermal slums; too cold in winter and too hot in summer.
  • By-law violations that turn residential buildings into slums are not the only matters the municipal courts will be dealing with.
  • Have they looked at the social consequences of building tomorrow's slums today and what provisions are being put in place to deal with these in the long term?

verb (slums, slumming, slummed)

[no object] informal
1Spend time at a lower social level than one’s own through curiosity or for charitable purposes: rich tourists slumming among the quaintly dangerous natives
More example sentences
  • Kicked out of east-coast prep schools and facing the glum prospect of a military academy, Igby goes slumming in lower Manhattan, but there's a porous border between moneyed respectability and penniless Bohemia.
  • Doing that among the Madison Square Garden crowd where ritzy ladies sported rhinestone and diamanté ‘W’ pins would be like forcing the country club to go slumming on a nice summer's day.
  • But it makes me feel a bit low and dirty, as though I'd been participating in slumming or walking through a madhouse in the 18th Century to laugh at the inmates.
1.1 (slum it) Put up with conditions that are less comfortable or of a lower quality than one is used to: businessmen are having to slum it in aircraft economy class seats
More example sentences
  • The good news is that the cooking is better than average, and you won't be slumming it as the place is extremely comfortable.
  • It's always a pleasure when a museum slums it with a pop culture show.
  • Both films have respected older actors slumming it as bad guys.



Pronunciation: /ˈsləmər/
Example sentences
  • The wealthy aren't invited, since nobody wants it thrown out of whack by a bunch of elegant slummers.
  • These streets are the marketplace for garrulous gamine Eliza, who ekes out a living selling flowers to wealthy slummers.
  • It is in some sense surprising that a story with the potential to discipline literary slummers should find its way into a magazine that catered to them.


Early 19th century (originally slang, in the sense 'room'): of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with slum

become, benumb, Brum, bum, chum, crumb, drum, glum, gum, ho-hum, hum, Kara Kum, lum, mum, numb, plum, plumb, Rhum, rhumb, rum, scrum, scum, some, strum, stum, succumb, sum, swum, thrum, thumb, tum, yum-yum

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: slum

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