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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for slither
Contemporary Examples
  • Wayne LaPierre may have won the week, and he may slither away without Congress doing anything this time around.

  • 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 3, 2009
Historical Examples
  • If I see the Cat or the other one, I'll slither through their bones.

  • slither it on good and thick and let it trickle down into the cracks.

    Walter and the Wireless Sara Ware Bassett
  • "I can't stand things that scuttle and slither and crawl," said Ives.

    Breaking Point

    James E. Gunn
  • It opened with a slither of wood and a rumble of sash weights.

    Pythias Frederik Pohl
  • We slither and slide to the bottom of the pit and gather fragments of steel.

    'Green Balls' Paul Bewsher
  • 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
  • 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
  • You can slither pine-needles through your fingers as you discuss, too, and it helps you to think.

    Us and the Bottleman

    Edith Ballinger Price
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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