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[slat-ern] /ˈslæt ərn/
a slovenly, untidy woman or girl.
a slut; harlot.
Origin of slattern
1630-40; perhaps akin to dial. slatter to splash, spill < ?
Word story
See slut. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for slattern
Historical Examples
  • I fancy my predecessor must have been a "slattern," for everything was thick with dust.

    In the Ranks of the C.I.V. Erskine Childers
  • Even if you have your own work to do, there is no necessity why you should be a dowdy or a slattern.

    Courtship and Marriage Annie S. Swan
  • Woe be to the hind who marries a slattern, one who likes finery and has a taste for delicacies!

  • Japp went up to the huts and hired a slattern to mind his house, and then drank heavily for three days to console himself.

    Prester John John Buchan
  • The usual group of loafers were sitting inside chatting with a slattern behind the bar.

    One Irish Summer William Eleroy Curtis
  • She's a slattern in her blood, and before the honeymoon is over she'll be slouching around in old slippers and her nightgown.

    They of the High Trails Hamlin Garland
  • It is little encouragement to an honest man to work hard all the week, if his wages are wasted by a slattern at home.

  • By a slattern we mean a woman who shows lack of care and thought in clothing.

    Book of Etiquette, Volume 2 Lillian Eichler Watson
  • He would also have seen his slattern wife in a new dress, with her hair done up, and a new hope masked behind her stoical face.

    Edith and John Franklin S. Farquhar
  • She wur na loike th' rest o' the wenches—loud talkin' an' slattern i' her ways; she wur just quiet loike and nowt else.

    "Surly Tim" Frances Hodgson Burnett
British Dictionary definitions for slattern


a slovenly woman or girl; slut
Derived Forms
slatternly, adjective
slatternliness, noun
Word Origin
C17: probably from slattering, from dialect slatter to slop; perhaps from Scandinavian; compare Old Norse sletta to slap
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 slattern

1630s, "a woman negligent or disordered in her dress or household," of uncertain origin, probably related to Low German Slattje, Dutch slodder, dialectal Swedish slata "slut" (in the older, non-sexual sense; cf. slut). Cf. dialectal English verb slatter "to spill or splash awkwardly, to waste," used of women or girls considered untidy or slovenly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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