Check out new words added to


[slap-stik] /ˈslæpˌstɪk/
broad comedy characterized by boisterous action, as the throwing of pies in actors' faces, mugging, and obvious farcical situations and jokes.
a stick or lath used by harlequins, clowns, etc., as in pantomime, for striking other performers, especially a combination of laths that make a loud, clapping noise without hurting the person struck.
using, or marked by the use of, broad farce and horseplay:
a slapstick motion picture.
Origin of slapstick
1895-1900, Americanism; slap1 + stick1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for slapstick
  • There are funny moments but almost none of the picture, except for outworn slapstick devices, is comedy at all.
  • His style was at once simple and antic, serious and slapstick, metaphoric and mischievous.
  • Rather than being a silly one-off, the slapstick scene embodies the tone of the prehistoric miniseries.
  • Many games that do feature violence serve up a slapstick version.
  • He has a sense of humour, albeit a rather slapstick one.
  • The practice of rush-shipping organs for transplants on ice is fertile ground for slapstick comedy.
  • Diverse kinds of verbal clowning and slapstick take place.
  • The film features some hilarious slapstick moments along with consistently witty and intelligent dialogue.
  • The injuriousness of this fictional world might be explained, of course, by slapstick convention.
  • It comes when the champagne of his dialogue is flattened by the pneumonia of his slapstick.
British Dictionary definitions for slapstick


  1. comedy characterized by horseplay and physical action
  2. (as modifier): slapstick humour
a flexible pair of paddles bound together at one end, formerly used in pantomime to strike a blow to a person with a loud clapping sound but without injury
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for slapstick

also slap-stick, originally (1896) a device consisting of two sticks fastened together so as to slap loudly when a clown or actor hits somebody with it, or to make a sound-effect offstage; from slap and stick (n.). As an adjective by 1906. Meaning "farcical physical comedy, horseplay" (1916) is short for slapstick comedy or humor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for slapstick

slap on the wrist, a

noun phrase

A very mild punishment • usually said when the punishment is felt to be unjustly lenient (1914+)

Related Terms

give someone a slap on the wrist

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for slapstick

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for slapstick

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with slapstick

Nearby words for slapstick