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[slath -er] /ˈslæð ər/ Informal.
verb (used with object)
to spread or apply thickly:
to slather butter on toast.
to spread something thickly on (usually followed by with):
to slather toast with butter.
to spend or use lavishly.
Often, slathers. a generous amount:
slathers of money.
open slather, Australian. complete freedom.
Origin of slather
1810-20, in sense “to slip, slide”; origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for slather
  • They are raised by loving parents who slather them with praise.
  • He took the lipstick from her and pretended to slather it on his lips.
  • We could have made time for the excursion to slather on some warm gray mud.
  • After a cool shower or bath, slather on a moisturizing cream or lotion to soothe the skin.
  • Season with salt, then slather on toast, crackers or right onto a spoon.
  • Bring sunscreen, and slather it on judiciously before and during your hike.
  • When you're ready to eat, slather on the basil butter.
  • Pat ribs dry and slather with porcini rub, coating them well on all sides.
  • Also, be sure to wear a hat and slather on sunscreen.
British Dictionary definitions for slather


(usually pl) (informal) a large quantity
(Austral & NZ, slang) open slather, a situation in which there are no restrictions; free-for-all
verb (transitive) (US & Canadian, slang)
to squander or waste
to spread thickly or lavishly
Word Origin
C19: of unknown origin
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
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Word Origin and History for slather

"spread liberally," 1847, of uncertain origin. Early 19c. local glossaries from western England have the word with a sense "to slip or slide."

Slather on the manure on all the hoed crops, if you have it; if not buy of your improvident neighbor. ["Genesee Farmer," June 1847]
Sometimes said to be from a dialectal noun meaning "large amount" (usually as plural, slathers), but this is first attested 1855. Related: Slathered; slathering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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