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slippery

[slip-uh-ree, slip-ree] /ˈslɪp ə ri, ˈslɪp ri/
adjective, slipperier, slipperiest.
1.
tending or liable to cause slipping or sliding, as ice, oil, a wet surface, etc.:
a slippery road.
2.
tending to slip from the hold or grasp or from position:
a slippery rope.
3.
likely to slip away or escape:
slippery prospects.
4.
not to be depended on; fickle; shifty, tricky, or deceitful.
5.
unstable or insecure, as conditions:
a slippery situation.
Origin of slippery
1525-1535
1525-35; alteration of slipper2; compare Low German slipperig; see -y1
Related forms
slipperiness, noun
nonslippery, adjective
unslippery, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for slippery
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His palms sweat so much, the reins were slippery in his hands.

    Shaman Robert Shea
  • The door was piled with bodies, and the stone floor was slippery with blood.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Unluckily, the horse fell down on the slippery Corso, and the coachman insisted upon Marshall's getting out.

    The Sunny Side of Diplomatic Life, 1875-1912 Lillie DeHegermann-Lindencrone
  • We went down the slippery oak-staircase, and out into the quiet street.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • By pouring hard peas upon the hatches, they became so slippery that the boarders could not stand.

British Dictionary definitions for slippery

slippery

/ˈslɪpərɪ; -prɪ/
adjective
1.
causing or tending to cause objects to slip: a slippery road
2.
liable to slip from the grasp, a position, etc
3.
not to be relied upon; cunning and untrustworthy: a slippery character
4.
(esp of a situation) liable to change; unstable
5.
slippery slope, a course of action that will lead to disaster or failure
Derived Forms
slipperily, adverb
slipperiness, noun
Word Origin
C16: probably coined by Coverdale to translate German schlipfferig in Luther's Bible (Psalm 35:6); related to Old English slipor slippery
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 slippery
adj.

"having a slippery surface," c.1500, from Middle English sliper (adj.) "readily slipping," from Old English slipor "slippery, having a smooth surface" (see slip (v.)) + -y (2). Metaphoric sense of "deceitful, untrustworthy" is first recorded 1550s. Related: Slipperiness. In a figurative sense, slippery slope is first attested 1844. Slippery elm (1748) so called for its mucilaginous inner bark.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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