adjective (slipperier, slipperiest)
- 1(Of a surface or object) difficult to hold firmly or stand on because it is smooth, wet, or slimy: slippery ice her hand was slippery with sweatMore example sentences
- Loss of balance on a slippery surface, especially ice or snow, is also common.
- But it was still difficult for the cars to stop on slippery surfaces when something unexpected occurred.
- On slippery surfaces, a very smooth traction and skid control system will cut in to ensure that things never get out of hand.
- 1.1(Of a person) evasive and unpredictable; not to be relied on: Martin’s a slippery customerMore example sentences
evasive, unreliable, unpredictable, hard to pin down; devious, crafty, cunning, wily, tricky, artful, guileful, slick, sly, sneaky, scheming, contriving, untrustworthy, deceitful, deceptive, duplicitous, dishonest, treacherous, false, two-faced, Janus-faced; North American snideBritish • informal dodgyAustralian/New Zealand • informal shonky
- A policeman has told how he bravely apprehended a slippery customer.
- Jolly and devious, she is an appealingly slippery figure.
- Have I been taken in, or is she just a slippery customer?
- 1.2(Of a word or concept) elusive in meaning because changing according to one’s point of view: the word ‘intended’ is a decidedly slippery oneMore example sentences
- I firmly believe the answer is no, if one wants to retain any meaningful working definition of the slippery concept of consciousness.
- Clarifying this slippery concept, however, suggests that the most important changes pointed to by postmodernism are political.
- I was not concerned with the noise, or the ‘nuisance’ - a very slippery concept - but with safety.
- A course of action likely to lead to something bad or disastrous: he is on the slippery slope towards a life of crimeMore example sentences
- This leads them down a slippery slope until, at the end of the play, they ‘tear each other's throats out’.
- Not me, evidently: and so my first step was taken on that slippery slope leading down to a kind of gentle madness.
- Critics say the law would be a slippery slope leading to anti-abortion laws in Canada.
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- An even bigger mistake is the dialogue, which slipperily shuttles between the farcical and the portentous, inducing gales of laughter in the most inappropriate places.
- Cameron was surprised to be invited to join the Bullingdon, and slipperily avoided most of the most disgraceful antics.
- Your machine will move slowly and slipperily to a fate that you can't avoid.
late 15th century: from dialect slipper 'slippery', probably suggested by Luther's schlipfferig.