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slate Line breaks: slate

Definition of slate in English:


1 [mass noun] A fine-grained grey, green, or bluish-purple metamorphic rock easily split into smooth, flat plates: [as modifier]: slate quarries a slate floor
More example sentences
  • The most resistant rocks are quartzite and quartz-rich sandstones, and tough fine-grained rocks such as slate.
  • New surfaces are made from chemical compounds and are designed to mimic granite, limestone, marble, slate, or soapstone.
  • It includes a variety of rocks, such as basalt, granite, gneiss, quartzite, slate, and schist.
2A flat plate of slate used as roofing material: a loose slate falls from the roof [as modifier]: a grey slate roof
More example sentences
  • She said she feared loose slates and masonry could fall from the roof.
  • We appear to have inherited a number of problems with roofing tiles and slates which are not always fixed with the precision and detailing required by the manufacturers (number of fixings etc).
  • The council discovered that there were loose slates on the roof which would have fallen into the street without the gutter in place.
2.1A flat plate of slate formerly used for writing on in schools: the teacher was demonstrating, the children copying on to slates
More example sentences
  • The colliery village's principle attractions are the driftwood mine, where the visitor is taken to the coalface, and the school, in which children can try out the desks and writing slates and play games of the period.
  • Each of the boxes includes enough pencils, exercise books, slates and school bags for a class of up to 80 pupils.
  • She is quite pleased with her knowledge about courts when she is able to pick out the jury, twelve animals and birds who are busy writing on their slates.
2.2British A record of a person’s debit or credit (in pubs and shops formerly written on a slate): ‘Five quid,’ said the barman. ‘Put it on my slate,’ I suggested
More example sentences
  • He asked Don to let him have a drink on the slate but Don refused.
  • One explanation for the extraordinary name of the pub relates to a long dead landlord who put the beer "on the slate" for thirsty road-makers when the track up the hill was metalled.
2.3A small portable computer that accepts input directly on to its screen rather than via a keyboard or mouse; a tablet computer: after getting our hands on one this afternoon, we found that it’s a solid, well-performing slate that’s easy on the eyes
More example sentences
  • Notebook computers and slates that let you enter data in handwriting and store it either as "digital ink" or convert it to text had a big "wow" factor.
  • Laptop computers, slates, tablets and the obligatory 'Argyll Shipwrecks' book sat open on the surrounding tables.
  • The retailer could sell its slate as a loss leader, but still profit by directing its tablet users to its own services and software.
3 [mass noun, usually as modifier] A bluish-grey colour: suits of slate grey
More example sentences
  • The morning sky was cloudless, and a dark shade of slate gray, not yet dawn.
  • Cool colours such as slate grey, navy, sleek steel and chrome are seen as inherently male.
  • Its cousin, the stunning kokako, is slate gray with sky-blue wattles decorating a black-masked face.
4A list of candidates for election to a post or office, typically a group sharing a set of political views: candidates on the left’s slate won 74 per cent of constituency votes
More example sentences
  • At the end of 1951 the Free Officers ran their own slate of candidates for election to the board of directors of the Officers' Club in Cairo.
  • As it is, the unions always run slates of candidates during the board's elections and hold caucus meetings before board meetings to discuss how teachers are going to vote.
  • Nominating Committee members work together to prepare and present an annual slate of candidates for national office.
4.1chiefly North American A range of something on offer: the company has revealed details of a $60m slate of film productions
More example sentences
  • Now in its third year, the Casa del Popolo's in-house music fest offers a slate of performers from around the world.
  • The international future, then, offers up a whole slate of questions and requirements, and sets a steep agenda for preparing strategic leaders.
  • He questions how many providers offering basically the same slate of services can exist in a market.
5A board showing the identifying details of a take in a film, held in front of the camera at the beginning and end of the take: the electronic time-code system allowed us to shoot with or without conventional slates
More example sentences
  • The director of this film actually clapped the slate and then decided that these scenes were KEEPERS.
  • We ascend, our cameras out of film and our slates covered in a jumble of barely decipherable notes.
  • The slate's most obvious purpose is the documentation it provides on what scene is being filmed, when it was filmed, what take it was, which film reel it was, etc.


[with object] Back to top  
1Cover (something, especially a roof) with slates: he was working for his father slating a new roof (as adjective slated) a slated roof
More example sentences
  • The roof will be slated and the front elevations will mostly be of natural stone, and each house has a large back garden.
  • The entire centre of the yard was covered and slated with a large open-ended platform at either end.
  • The contractor shall inspect all surfaces prepared for slating.
2British informal Criticize severely: his work was slated by the critics
More example sentences
  • Although I admit to being one of those who'll slate a referee at a match, I also understand the enormous task they face once the whistle is blown.
  • They both slated the referee, who, they claimed, was wrong to allow a goal scored by Dublin.
  • Last December it was slated in a highly critical report released by the powerful Commons Treasury Select Committee.
criticize harshly, attack, pillory, lambaste, condemn, flay, savage, shoot down, revile, vilify
informal pan, knock, tear/pull/take to pieces, take/pull apart, crucify, hammer, slam, do a hatchet job on, bash, give something a battering, roast, skewer, maul, throw brickbats at
British informal rubbish, slag off, monster
North American informal trash, pummel
Australian/New Zealand informal bag
archaic slash
rare excoriate
3chiefly North American Schedule; plan: London shows are slated for late June [with infinitive]: construction is slated to begin late next year
More example sentences
  • The plan is slated to take effect for 2007 models.
  • At press time, renovation work was slated to start on Nov.18, but McDonough expected some permitting delays.
  • He said more Jacksonville stores are slated for renovations, but could not confirm which ones.…
3.1Nominate (someone) as a candidate for an office or post: I understand that I am being slated for promotion
More example sentences
  • I am slated to open an office in a prestigious location with a co-worker coming up in September.
  • The Nominations Committee has slated candidates for the position of Chair-elect and Secretary.
  • The criticism the Municipal Reform Club received from Republican circles for not endorsing Thomas and for slating a candidate to oppose Bash seemed to increase Thomas' confidence.
4Identify (a take in a film) using a slate: the assistant cameraman is about to slate the scene
More example sentences
  • They discuss how to proceed, conduct run-throughs, slate shots, film the filming; and as they do so, you get to know these young people.
  • When one camera is slated, someone puts their hand over the lens of the other camera to block the view of the other camera's slate.
  • Slate every shot, even if you are going direct into the camera.


Middle English sclate, sklate, shortening of Old French esclate, feminine synonymous with esclat 'piece broken off' (see slat).

  • This is from the Old French esclat ‘a piece broken off’. Slat (Late Middle English) is a variant which meant ‘roofing slate’ until it developed the current sense in the mid 18th century. Schoolchildren formerly used flat pieces of slate for writing on in chalk, and shops and bars used the same materials for keeping a record of what a customer owed. This is the origin of the expression on the slate, ‘to be paid for later, on credit’. The related French esclice ‘splinter’ gives us slice (Middle English) and their common Germanic source also gives us slit (Old English). In the sense ‘to criticize’, dating from the mid 19th century, slate is probably a different word. It might derive from the slightly earlier Irish sense ‘to beat, beat up’ and be related to a Scots use of slate meaning ‘to set a dog on’, which is from Old Norse.



Pronunciation: /ˈsleɪti/
Example sentences
  • Beyond the strip of level ground there is a ‘short steep preparatory slope’ (a one-in-three incline, as we later learn), slaty and with only the sparsest vegetation.
  • Others have ‘purple ‘flowers, ranging from deep, slaty purple to pinkish purple; some with lines or spots of a darker color.’
  • Plumage color of homozygous birds varies from slaty blue to beige depending on the relative abundance of eumelanin and pheomelanin in the feathers.

Words that rhyme with slate

abate, ablate, aerate, ait, await, backdate, bait, bate, berate, castrate, collate, conflate, crate, create, cremate, date, deflate, dictate, dilate, distraite, donate, downstate, eight, elate, equate, estate, fate, fête, fixate, freight, frustrate, gait, gate, gestate, gradate, grate, great, gyrate, hate, hydrate, inflate, innate, interrelate, interstate, irate, Kate, Kuwait, lactate, late, locate, lustrate, mandate, mate, migrate, misdate, misstate, mistranslate, mutate, narrate, negate, notate, orate, ornate, Pate, placate, plate, prate, prorate, prostrate, pulsate, pupate, quadrate, rate, rotate, sate, sedate, serrate, short weight, skate, spate, spectate, spruit, stagnate, state, straight, strait, Tate, tête-à-tête, Thwaite, translate, translocate, transmigrate, truncate, underrate, understate, underweight, update, uprate, upstate, up-to-date, vacate, vibrate, wait, weight

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