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[slith -er] /ˈslɪð ər/
verb (used without object)
to slide down or along a surface, especially unsteadily, from side to side, or with some friction or noise:
The box slithered down the chute.
to go or walk with a sliding motion:
The snake slithered across the path.
verb (used with object)
to cause to slither or slide.
a slithering movement; slide.
Origin of slither
1150-1200; Middle English slitheren, variant of sliddren, Old English slid(e)rian, frequentative of slīdan to slide; see -er6
Related forms
slithery, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for slither
Contemporary Examples
  • On the day the Sun-Times finally sank, an Ontario court rejected Breeden's effort to slither out of my libel suits.

    I Was Right Conrad Black April 2, 2009
  • Wayne LaPierre may have won the week, and he may slither away without Congress doing anything this time around.

Historical Examples
  • Then he began to slither along the ground raising enough dust to mask his movements.

  • If I see the Cat or the other one, I'll slither through their bones.

  • Dan, with recollections of Anzac fresh upon him, remembered that slither of earth from those crump-holes on the left.

  • "I can't stand things that scuttle and slither and crawl," said Ives.

    Breaking Point James E. Gunn
  • Then came soft little thuds on the floor, a whimper or two, small sighs, and a slither of bare legs on bare boards.

    Americans All Various
  • It opened with a slither of wood and a rumble of sash weights.

    Pythias Frederik Pohl
  • One could hardly be expected to slither about in soft slush for second-hand things of that kind.

    Down the Columbia Lewis R. Freeman
  • The only alternative was to sit astride one of them and slither along shoreward, a few inches at a time.

    To Kiel in the 'Hercules' Lewis R. Freeman
British Dictionary definitions for slither


to move or slide or cause to move or slide unsteadily, as on a slippery surface
(intransitive) to travel with a sliding motion
a slithering motion
Word Origin
Old English slidrian, from slīdan to slide
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 slither

early 15c., variant of Middle English slidder "to slip, slide," from Old English slidrian "to slip, slide on a loose slope," a frequentative form of slidan "to slide" (see slide (v.)). For spelling change, cf. gather. Meaning "to walk in a sliding manner" is attested from 1848. In reference to reptile motion, attested from 1839. Related: Slithered; slithering.


"slithering movement," 1861, from slither (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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