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[slahyt] /slaɪt/
adjective, slighter, slightest.
small in amount, degree, etc.:
a slight increase; a slight odor.
of little importance, influence, etc.; trivial:
a slight cut.
slender or slim; not heavily built.
frail; flimsy; delicate:
a slight fabric.
of little substance or strength.
verb (used with object)
to treat as of little importance.
to treat (someone) with indifference; ignore, especially pointedly or contemptuously; snub:
to be slighted by society.
to do negligently; scamp:
to slight one's studies.
an act or instance of slighting or being slighted:
The critics’ slights led her to change direction in her work.
a pointed and contemptuous discourtesy; affront:
She considered not being invited an unforgivable slight.
Origin of slight
1250-1300; Middle English (adj.) smooth, sleek, slender; compare Old English -sliht- in eorth-slihtes even with ground; cognate with German schlicht, Old Norse slēttr, Gothic slaihts smooth
Related forms
slighter, noun
slightly, adverb
slightness, noun
overslight, adjective
unslighted, adjective
2. insignificant, trifling, paltry. 3. See slender. 4. weak, feeble, fragile. 5. unsubstantial, inconsiderable. 6. disdain, scorn. Slight, disregard, neglect, overlook mean to pay no attention or too little attention to someone or something. To slight is to give only superficial attention to something important: to slight one's work. To disregard is to pay no attention to a person or thing: to disregard the rules; in some circumstances, to disregard may be admirable: to disregard a handicap. To neglect is to shirk paying sufficient attention to a person or thing: to neglect one's correspondence. To overlook is to fail to see someone or something (possibly because of carelessness): to overlook a bill that is due. 9. neglect, disregard, inattention. 10. See insult.
1. considerable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for slightly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "The crowd wanted to give me the money," he said, slightly perplexed.

    Windy McPherson's Son Sherwood Anderson
  • The business-like question and tone disconcerted him slightly.

    The Man from the Bitter Roots Caroline Lockhart
  • Melt the butter and when slightly brown add the milk and seasoning.

  • They heard that Paul's arm was broken, and that he had been slightly hurt about the head.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • Next day the fever had slightly abated, when Muhamed Isa slipped gently into my tent to inquire how the Sahib was.

British Dictionary definitions for slightly


in small measure or degree


small in quantity or extent
of small importance; trifling
slim and delicate
lacking in strength or substance
(Southwest English, dialect) ill
verb (transitive)
to show indifference or disregard for (someone); snub
to treat as unimportant or trifling
(US) to devote inadequate attention to (work, duties, etc)
an act or omission indicating supercilious neglect or indifference
Derived Forms
slightness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norse slēttr smooth; related to Old High German slehtr, Gothic slaihts, Middle Dutch slecht simple
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for slightly

1520s, "slenderly;" 1590s, "in a small degree," from slight (adj.) + -ly (2).



early 14c., "flat, smooth; hairless," probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse slettr "smooth, sleek," from Proto-Germanic *slikhtaz (cf. Old Saxon slicht; Low German slicht "smooth, plain common;" Old English -sliht "level," attested in eorðslihtes "level with the ground;" Old Frisian sliucht "smooth, slight," Middle Dutch sleht "even, plain," Old High German sleht, Gothic slaihts "smooth"), probably from a collateral form of PIE *sleig- "to smooth, glide, be muddy," from root *(s)lei- "slimy" (see slime (n.)).

Sense evolution probably is from "smooth" (c.1300), to "slim, slender; of light texture," hence "not good or strong; insubstantial, trifling, inferior, insignificant" (early 14c.). Meaning "small in amount" is from 1520s. Sense of German cognate schlecht developed from "smooth, plain, simple" to "bad, mean, base," and as it did it was replaced in the original senses by schlicht, a back-formation from schlichten "to smooth, to plane," a derivative of schlecht in the old sense [Klein].


c.1300, "make plain or smooth," from slight (adj.) Meaning "treat with indifference" (1590s) is from the adjective in sense of "having little worth." Related: Slighted; slighting.


1550s, "small amount or weight," from slight (v.). Meaning "act of intentional neglect or ignoring out of displeasure or contempt" is from 1701, probably via 17c. phrase make a slight of (1610s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with slightly
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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