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[slik] /slɪk/
adjective, slicker, slickest.
smooth and glossy; sleek.
smooth in manners, speech, etc.; suave.
sly; shrewdly adroit:
He's a slick customer, all right.
ingenious; cleverly devised:
a slick plan to get out of work.
slippery, especially from being covered with or as if with ice, water, or oil.
deftly executed and having surface appeal or sophistication, but shallow or glib in content; polished but superficial; glib:
a writer who has mastered every formula of slick fiction.
Slang. wonderful; remarkable; first-rate.
a smooth or slippery place or spot or the substance causing it:
oil slick.
  1. a magazine printed on paper having a more or less glossy finish.
  2. such a magazine regarded as possessing qualities, as expensiveness, chic, and sophistication, that hold appeal for a particular readership, as one whose members enjoy or are seeking affluence.
  3. such a magazine regarded as having a sophisticated, deftly executed, but shallow or glib literary content.
    Compare pulp (def 6).
any of various paddlelike tools for smoothing a surface.
Automotive. a wide tire without a tread, used in racing.
Military Slang. a helicopter.
smoothly; cleverly.
Origin of slick1
1300-50; Middle English slike (adj.); cognate with dialectal Dutch sleek even, smooth; akin to slick2
Related forms
slickly, adverb
slickness, noun
3. wily, tricky, foxy, sharp. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for slickest
Historical Examples
  • This gambler he was the slickest short-card player ever struck hereabouts.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I must say that was the slickest, pluckiest thing ever I saw anywheres.

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
  • He was, they decided, the "slickest" man they had ever seen.

    The Winning Clue

    James Hay, Jr.
  • "Well, that was the slickest thing I ever saw done," said Bob.

    Halsey & Co. H. K. Shackleford
  • It was the slickest job of the kind that has been put through in this neck of the war.

    Many Fronts Lewis R. Freeman
  • Come to think of it, skeeters are about the slickest nuisances we've got.

    Step Lively! George Niblo
  • He knew now—the slickest job of hypnotic flattery ever invented.

    At the Post Horace Leonard Gold
  • She's a pal of mine, if you want to know, the slickest thief that ever robbed a flat.

    The Foolish Virgin Thomas Dixon
  • Plenty of the slickest money ever printed—an' the other stuff, too—an' you afraid to take a chance.

    Wings of the Wind Credo Harris
  • Hes a slick articlein fact, the two of them are a pair of the slickest articles its ever been my misfortune to run across.

British Dictionary definitions for slickest


flattering and glib: a slick salesman
adroitly devised or executed: a slick show
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) shrewd; sly
(informal) superficially attractive: a slick publication
(mainly US & Canadian) smooth and glossy; slippery
a slippery area, esp a patch of oil floating on water
a chisel or other tool used for smoothing or polishing a surface
the tyre of a racing car that has worn treads
verb (transitive)
(mainly US & Canadian) to make smooth or sleek
(US & Canadian, informal) (usually foll by up) to smarten or tidy (oneself)
(often foll by up) to make smooth or glossy
Derived Forms
slickly, adverb
slickness, noun
Word Origin
C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Icelandic, Norwegian slikja to be or make smooth
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 slickest



Old English -slician (in nigslicod "newly made sleek"), from Proto-Germanic *slikojan, from base *slikaz (cf. Old Norse slikr "smooth," Old High German slihhan "to glide," German schleichen "to creep, crawl, sneak," Dutch slijk "mud, mire"), from PIE *sleig- "to smooth, glide, be muddy," from root *(s)lei- "slimy" (see slime (n.)). Related: Slicked; slicking.



1620s, a kind of cosmetic, from slick (v.). Meaning "smooth place on the surface of water caused by oil, etc." is attested from 1849. Meaning "a swindler, clever person" is attested from 1959.



early 14c., "smooth, glossy, sleek" (of skin or hair); sense of "clever in deception" is first recorded 1590s; that of "first-class, excellent" is from 1833. Related: Slickly; slickness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for slickest



  1. Smooth and clever; smart: She's a very slick talker (1599+)
  2. Cunning; crafty: more than a match for any slick city lawyer (1807+)
  3. Excellent; nifty: The soup was ''simply slick'' (1843+)
  4. Glib and superficial; without real substance: They turn out people with slick plastic personalities (1920+)


  1. A magazine printed on glossy paper and usually having some artistic or intellectual pretensions, as distinguished from pulp magazines: magazines, from top slicks to minor pulps (1934+)
  2. n automobile tire with a very smooth tread: My Sting Ray is light, the slicks are startin' to spin (1950s+ Hot rodders)
  3. A police bureaucrat regarded as self-serving by the rank and file: But no way am I hanging around to talk to the slicks on this one (1980s+ New York City police)

[earlier 1800s uses were in comparative phrases like slick as bear's grease and slick as molasses]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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