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  1. a long thin, narrow strip of wood, metal, etc., used as a support for a bed, as one of the horizontal laths of a Venetian blind, etc.
  2. Aeronautics. a control surface along the leading edge of a wing that can be extended forward to create a gap (slot) to improve airflow.
  3. slats, Slang.
    1. the ribs.
    2. the buttocks.
    3. (initial capital letter)a nickname for a tall, slender man.
verb (used with object), slat·ted, slat·ting.
  1. to furnish or make with slats

Origin of slat1

1350–1400; Middle English sclat, slatt a slate < Middle French esclat splinter, fragment; see éclat


[slat]Chiefly British Dialect
verb (used with object), slat·ted, slat·ting.
  1. to throw or dash with force.
verb (used without object), slat·ted, slat·ting.
  1. to flap violently, as sails.
  1. a slap; a sharp blow.

Origin of slat2

First recorded in 1815–25, slat is from the Old Norse word sletta to splash, strike
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for slat

Historical Examples

  • Then she stomped round 'n' slat the dish-rag, but 't wa'n't no use.

    The Village Watch-Tower

    (AKA Kate Douglas Riggs) Kate Douglas Wiggin

  • This shoot is tied to the central wire or slat and is now allowed to fruit.

  • Then she started back for the caves taking the slat of wood with her as a trophy.

    The Beach of Dreams

    H. De Vere Stacpoole

  • Signa asked permission to sleep on the slat lounge outside her door.

    O Pioneers!

    Willa Cather

  • He made the handle from the end of a slat on the bed in the room which I occupied that night.

    No Clue

    James Hay

British Dictionary definitions for slat


  1. a narrow thin strip of wood or metal, as used in a Venetian blind, etc
  2. a movable or fixed auxiliary aerofoil attached to the leading edge of an aircraft wing to increase lift, esp during landing and takeoff
verb slats, slatting or slatted
  1. (tr) to provide with slats

Word Origin

C14: from Old French esclat splinter, from esclater to shatter


verb slats, slatting or slatted
  1. (tr) to throw violently; fling carelessly
  2. (intr) to flap violently
  1. a sudden blow

Word Origin

C13: of Scandinavian origin; related to Old Norse, Icelandic sletta to slap


  1. Irish a spent salmon

Word Origin

C19: of uncertain origin
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

Word Origin and History for slat


late 14c., earlier sclat (c.1300), "a roofing slate, a thin, flat stone," from Old French esclat "split piece, chip, splinter" (Modern French éclat), back-formation from esclater "to break, splinter, burst," probably from Frankish *slaitan "to tear, slit" or some other Germanic source (cf. Old High German slizan, Old English slitan; see slit (v.)). Meaning "long, thin, narrow piece of wood or metal" attested from 1764.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper