[ sleyt ]
See synonyms for slate on
  1. a fine-grained rock formed by the metamorphosis of clay, shale, etc., that tends to split along parallel cleavage planes, usually at an angle to the planes of stratification.

  2. a thin, flat piece or plate of fine-grained, easily split rock or a similar material, used especially for roofing or as a writing surface.

  1. a list of candidates, officers, etc., to be considered for nomination, appointment, election, or the like: He has added his name to the slate of mayoral candidates.

verb (used with object),slat·ed, slat·ing.
  1. to cover with plates of fine-grained, easily split rock or a similar material: Our team has years of experience with slating and tiling roofs.

  2. to write or set down for nomination or appointment: There are 39 lawyers hoping to be slated for judge.

  1. to plan or designate (something) for a particular place and time; schedule: The premiere was slated for January.

  2. Chiefly British. to censure, scold, or criticize harshly: She was slated by the press for making exaggerated claims in her memoir.

  3. to punish severely.

Idioms about slate

  1. clean slate, a record containing no negative reports, notes about bad behavior, reprimands, failures, etc.: After a talk with the boss about his misconduct, he was allowed to start over with a clean slate.

Origin of slate

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English sclate, from Middle French esclate, feminine of esclat “piece split off”; see slat1

Words Nearby slate

Other definitions for slate (2 of 2)

[ sleyt ]

verb (used with object),slat·ed, slat·ing.British Dialect.
  1. to sic or set a dog on (a person or animal).

Origin of slate

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English slaiten, from Old Norse sleita (unrecorded) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use slate in a sentence

  • The tower has four clock faces, pinnacles at the angles, and a steep slate roof and is 120 feet high.

    Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham | Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell
  • slate slabs were originally tried for sleepers on the Birmingham and London line.

    Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham | Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell
  • John Tubbs was one day doing his sums, when little Sam Jones pushed against him; and down went the slate with a horrid clatter.

  • Dinah had left her slate on 10 a chair, and dropped her algebra on the carpet, at the sound of Norahs voice below the window.

    Tessa Wadsworth's Discipline | Jennie M. Drinkwater
  • Why send her a picture of a slate-colored cow when a herd of Durhams pastures every day right under her eye?

British Dictionary definitions for slate (1 of 2)


/ (sleɪt) /

    • a compact fine-grained metamorphic rock formed by the effects of heat and pressure on shale. It can be split into thin layers along natural cleavage planes and is used as a roofing and paving material

    • (as modifier): a slate tile

  1. a roofing tile of slate

  1. (formerly) a writing tablet of slate

  2. a dark grey colour, often with a purplish or bluish tinge

  3. mainly US and Canadian a list of candidates in an election

  4. films

    • the reference information written on a clapperboard

    • informal the clapperboard itself

  5. clean slate a record without dishonour

  6. have a slate loose British and Irish informal to be eccentric or crazy

  7. on the slate British informal on credit

  8. wipe the slate clean informal to make a fresh start, esp by forgetting past differences

  1. to cover (a roof) with slates

  2. mainly US to enter (a person's name) on a list, esp on a political slate

    • to choose or destine: he was slated to go far

    • to plan or schedule: the trial is slated to begin in three weeks

  1. of the colour slate

Origin of slate

C14: from Old French esclate, from esclat a fragment; see slat 1

British Dictionary definitions for slate (2 of 2)


/ (sleɪt) /

verb(tr) informal, mainly British
  1. to criticize harshly; censure

  2. to punish or defeat severely

Origin of slate

C19: probably from slate 1

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

Scientific definitions for slate


[ slāt ]

  1. A fine-grained metamorphic rock that forms when shale undergoes metamorphosis. Slate splits into thin layers with smooth surfaces. It ranges in color from gray to black or from red to green, depending on the minerals contained in the shale from which it formed.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with slate


In addition to the idiom beginning with slate

  • slated for, be

also see:

  • clean slate

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.