Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

slum

[sluhm] /slʌm/
noun
1.
Often, slums. a thickly populated, run-down, squalid part of a city, inhabited by poor people.
2.
any squalid, run-down place to live.
verb (used without object), slummed, slumming.
3.
to visit slums, especially from curiosity.
4.
to visit or frequent a place, group, or amusement spot considered to be low in social status.
Origin of slum
1805-1815
1805-15; compare earlier argot slum room; origin obscure
Related forms
slummer, noun
deslum, verb (used with object), deslummed, deslumming.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for slum
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If they were poor, like the slum people, I could understand it better.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • slum slid from the bar to the ground, and his deep-set eyes were smiling again.

    The Night Riders Ridgwell Cullum
  • slum lowered his cocktail and turned a disgusted look on him.

    The Night Riders Ridgwell Cullum
  • It was like a slum hidden away in the heart of a fashionable city.

    The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum
  • The same procedure was followed at noon when slum was served.

    The Delta of the Triple Elevens William Elmer Bachman
British Dictionary definitions for slum

slum

/slʌm/
noun
1.
a squalid overcrowded house, etc
2.
(often pl) a squalid section of a city, characterized by inferior living conditions and usually by overcrowding
3.
(modifier) of, relating to, or characteristic of slums: slum conditions
verb (intransitive) slums, slumming, slummed
4.
to visit slums, esp for curiosity
5.
Also slum it. to suffer conditions below those to which one is accustomed
Derived Forms
slummer, noun
slummy, adjective
Word Origin
C19: originally slang, of obscure 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for slum
n.

1845, from back slum "dirty back alley of a city, street of poor or low people" (1825), originally a slang or cant word meaning "room," especially "back room" (1812), of unknown origin, pastime popularized by East End novels. Related: slums. Slumscape is from 1947.

v.

"visit slums of a city," especially for diversion or amusement, often under guise of philanthropy, 1884, from slum (n.). Pastime popularized by East End novels. Earlier it meant to visit slums for disreputable purposes or in search of vice (1860). Related: Slumming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for slum

slum 1

v,v phr

To visit places or consort with persons below one's place or dignity; mix with one's inferiors: So we went slumming over in Philadelphia

[1884+; fr slum, ''wretched poor area,'' origin unknown]

slum 2

noun

Any inferior and esp unidentifiable food or drink; a nasty nameless stew;slop

[1847+;origin unknown; perhaps a vaguely echoic denigrating coinage related to slum1]

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

Word of the Day

Nearby words for slum

Word Value for slum

6
9
Scrabble Words With Friends