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[slee-zee, sley-zee] /ˈsli zi, ˈsleɪ zi/
adjective, sleazier, sleaziest.
contemptibly low, mean, or disreputable:
sleazy politics.
squalid; sordid; filthy; dilapidated:
a sleazy hotel.
thin or poor in texture, as a fabric; cheap; flimsy:
a sleazy dress; a sleazy excuse.
Origin of sleazy
1635-45; (def 3) of obscure origin (probably unrelated to Silesia other than by folk etymology); sense of defs. 1-2 (first attested 1941) perhaps represent a distinct word
Related forms
sleazily, adverb
sleaziness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sleazy
  • The for-profits didn't teach us any of these sleazy innovations.
  • Yet frequent crackdowns and the occasional toppling of sleazy officials appear to have little impact.
  • We were all giddy at the prospect of an evening's unchained fun, sleazy adventure divorced from consequences.
  • But venture capitalists have yet to invest in the firm, which needs to ensure its service is not used to sleazy ends.
  • Although a slightly sleazy business, it was hugely profitable.
  • The camera catches the perfect pair clowning an elaborate kiss against the sleazy panorama.
  • Once you start dating the sleazy old professor, disillusionment sets in.
  • Journalism is sleazy because it's a consumer product, so many of its offerings are biased.
  • Denigrating the self promotion of others as a way of promoting yourself is ugly and sleazy.
  • He was sleazy in a delightful sort of way, the anti-Fox, and audiences and critics loved it.
British Dictionary definitions for sleazy


adjective -zier, -ziest
sordid; disreputable: a sleazy nightclub
thin or flimsy, as cloth
Derived Forms
sleazily, adverb
sleaziness, noun
Word Origin
C17: origin uncertain
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 sleazy

1640s, "downy, fuzzy," later "flimsy, unsubstantial" (1660s), of unknown origin; one theory is that it is a corruption of Silesia, the German region, where thin linen or cotton fabric was made for export. Silesia in reference to cloth is attested in English from 1670s; and sleazy as an abbreviated form is attested from 1670), but OED is against this. Sense of "sordid" is from 1941. Related: Sleazily; sleaziness.

A day is a more magnificent cloth than any muslin, the mechanism that makes it is infinitely cunninger, and you shall not conceal the sleazy, fraudulent, rotten hours you have slipped into the piece, nor fear that any honest thread, or straighter steel, or more inflexible shaft, will not testify in the web. [Emerson, "The Conduct of Life," 1860]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sleazy



Nasty; degradingly repellent: sleaze-bucket movies (1970s+)

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