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[slip-uh-ree, slip-ree] /ˈslɪp ə ri, ˈslɪp ri/
adjective, slipperier, slipperiest.
tending or liable to cause slipping or sliding, as ice, oil, a wet surface, etc.:
a slippery road.
tending to slip from the hold or grasp or from position:
a slippery rope.
likely to slip away or escape:
slippery prospects.
not to be depended on; fickle; shifty, tricky, or deceitful.
unstable or insecure, as conditions:
a slippery situation.
Origin of slippery
1525-35; alteration of slipper2; compare Low German slipperig; see -y1
Related forms
slipperiness, noun
nonslippery, adjective
unslippery, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for slippery
  • The combination of collagen mesh and water forms a strong and slippery pad in the joint.
  • Hot soapy water in a bucket for cleaning slippery hands while bottling.
  • Rubber trim and bottom are excellent for gripping and setting on slippery surfaces.
  • They do so because they're more slippery than prior string designs.
  • Its grainy texture lets tiny, slippery fingers get a firm grip.
  • Some experts thought they represented rocky debris made slippery by tiny bits of ice mixed with dirt.
  • Deadly pitcher-plant inspires super slippery nano-surface.
  • Experiments on memory reveal how slippery our sense of truth can be.
  • Wet slippery sidewalks are a hazard, but apparently no one thinks about that until lawsuits start flying.
  • Cyber criminals are a slippery bunch, adept at covering their digital fingerprints to stay one step ahead of the law.
British Dictionary definitions for slippery


/ˈslɪpərɪ; -prɪ/
causing or tending to cause objects to slip: a slippery road
liable to slip from the grasp, a position, etc
not to be relied upon; cunning and untrustworthy: a slippery character
(esp of a situation) liable to change; unstable
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

"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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