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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
  • On campus-visit days, worries slither into the thoughts of the hosts.
  • What joints there are between the floors are loosely fitting wooden brackets that allow each storey to slither around.
  • There is always a crowd of people ogling the store's flat-screened televisions and slither-thin laptops.
  • Paraplegics slither to the collector's feet on broken limbs.
  • Both give the strong impression of not being in politics merely to survive or slither to the top.
  • The various satellite consortia have spent billions in pursuit of a narrow slither of the world market.
  • Nonetheless, the special effects have an insidious slither of their own.
  • Trains or lines of cars slither amid the mounds, entering or exiting dark tunnels.
  • The snails still slither their hungry way over the leaves of the vineyards.
  • Here, for example, is what happens when a milk snake tries to slither across a smooth plastic surface.
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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