Definition of slippery in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈslip(ə)rē/


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 sweat
More 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.
icy, greasy, oily, glassy, smooth, slimy, wet
informal slippy
1.1(Of a person) evasive and unpredictable; not to be relied on: Martin’s a slippery customer
More example sentences
  • 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?
evasive, unreliable, unpredictable;
devious, crafty, cunning, unscrupulous, wily, tricky, artful, slick, sly, sneaky, scheming, untrustworthy, deceitful, duplicitous, dishonest, treacherous, two-faced, snide
informal shady, shifty, hinky
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 one
More 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.


slippery slope

An idea or course of action which will lead to something unacceptable, wrong, or disastrous: he is on the slippery slope toward a life of crime
More 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.



Pronunciation: /ˈslipərəlē/
Example sentences
  • 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'.

Words that rhyme with slippery


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: slip·per·y

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