Definition of slur in English:

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Pronunciation: /sləː/

verb (slurs, slurring, slurred)

[with object]
1Speak (words) indistinctly so that the sounds run into one another: he was slurring his words like a drunk
More example sentences
  • The words were slurred and indistinct, but after listening to a verse repeated several times, Will made out the words and knew he was right about it being a song.
  • At the time she had difficulty swallowing, chewing and speaking, often slurring her words.
  • It's comforting to imagine Malkovich stumbling around, slurring his words.
mumble, speak unclearly, garble, stumble over, stammer
rare misarticulate
1.1 [no object] (Of words or speech) be slurred: his speech was beginning to slur
More example sentences
  • She took a long swing before speaking, her speech slurred from the amount of drink she's had.
  • Without a drink passing his lips he would, on occasion, find his speech slurring as though he were intoxicated.
  • His speech slurs when he is tired and he has gaps in his short-term memory, but mentally he is there.
1.2Pass over (a fact or aspect) so as to conceal or minimize it: essential attributes are being slurred over or ignored
More example sentences
  • But the lack of good reference books was very real, and because of this the narrative had often to be slurred over, or particular periods skipped.
  • ‘This point is sometimes forgotten, and sometimes slurred over,’ observed Eoghan O Neachtain in 1902.
2 Music Perform (a group of two or more notes) legato: (as adjective slurred) a group of slurred notes
More example sentences
  • If the blues is a single note that is slurred into a different tone, then we have taken the King's English and blued it into our own dialect.
  • In either case the two notes will typically be slurred and played with a diminuendo.
  • No student could slur over a single note or syllable and get away with it!
2.1Mark (notes) with a slur.
Example sentences
  • The clefs, rests, and expression marks such as slurs and phrasing, even the thickness of the staves, make up a complex pictorial and typographical unity.
  • When he took it the second time, slurring the notes descending, Kyla jumped in and started singing the first verse and took the song from the top.
  • This is an ideal variation for students to learn dotted rhythms, finger precision, mordents and slurring, since the third eighth note in each beat sounds best if it is not connected to the next beat.
3chiefly US Make damaging or insulting insinuations or allegations about: try and slur the integrity of the police to secure an acquittal
More example sentences
  • Let me tell you one thing about my classroom - Don't you ever come into it again slurring your insults in my face!
  • It is insulting and wrong and slurs both the residents and management of the house in question.


1An insinuation or allegation about someone that is likely to insult them or damage their reputation: the comments were a slur on staff at the hospital
More example sentences
  • I would never ask anybody to lie and these allegations represent a gross slur on the many tried and trusted employees who continue to work for Angel.
  • It was perhaps significant that nobody in the village of that name in the Vale of Leven in West Dunbartonshire complained about a potential slur on their reputation.
  • Irish officials, while making no public comment on the trial, are said to be privately incensed about the slur on the reputation of one of their most respected and popular colleagues.
insult, slight, slander, slanderous statement, libel, libellous statement, misrepresentation, defamation, aspersion, calumny, smear;
allegation, imputation, insinuation, innuendo
2An act of speaking indistinctly so that sounds or words run into one another or a tendency to speak in such a way: there was a trace of a slur in his voice
More example sentences
  • Licking her lips she began to slowly speak with a small slur.
  • He must have been aware of the slur in his words, and of the sudden sting in his eyes.
  • Some drunken couple bumps into me, mumbling a drunken slur of words, which I assume to be apologizes.
3 Music A curved line used to show that a group of two or more notes are to be sung to one syllable or played or sung legato.
Example sentences
  • Playful articulation with staccato, legato, slurs and the shape of the rising first-theme melody in C major create a bright and fresh mood.
  • Articulation is critical the pianist must observe and execute staccato notes and slurs with real style, or the piece will fall flat.
  • Staccato, legato and two-note slurs appear, with hands together throughout, and songs are in the keys of C and G, with few black keys.


Middle English: originally as noun in sense 'thin, fluid mud', later as verb meaning 'smear, smirch', 'disparage (a person)', 'gloss over (a fault)'.

  • The medieval English word slur meant ‘thin, fluid mud’. Early senses of the verb were ‘to smear’ and then ‘to criticize’—you can see the same metaphor at work in the phrase ‘mud-slinging’ and in the history of the word aspersion. Later on it came to mean ‘to gloss over a fault’, and from this developed the idea of speaking indistinctly. Slurry (Late Middle English) also comes from medieval slur, and here the connection with mud is much clearer.

Words that rhyme with slur

à deux, agent provocateur, astir, auteur, aver, bestir, blur, bon viveur, burr, Chandigarh, coiffeur, concur, confer, connoisseur, cordon-bleu, cri de cœur, cur, danseur, Darfur, defer, demur, de rigueur, deter, entrepreneur, er, err, farceur, faute de mieux, fir, flâneur, Fleur, force majeure, fur, hauteur, her, infer, inter, jongleur, Kerr, littérateur, longueur, masseur, Monseigneur, monsieur, Montesquieu, Montreux, murre, myrrh, occur, pas de deux, Pasteur, per, pisteur, poseur, pot-au-feu, prefer, prie-dieu, pudeur, purr, raconteur, rapporteur, refer, répétiteur, restaurateur, saboteur, sabreur, seigneur, Sher, shirr, sir, skirr, souteneur, spur, stir, tant mieux, transfer, Ur, vieux jeu, voyageur, voyeur, were, whirr

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: slur

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