- to spread or apply thickly: to slather butter on toast.
- to spread something thickly on (usually followed by with): to slather toast with butter.
- to spend or use lavishly.
- Often slathers. a generous amount: slathers of money.
- open slather, Australian. complete freedom.
Origin of slather
- See slather (def. 2)
- (usually plural) informal a large quantity
- open slather Australian and NZ slang a situation in which there are no restrictions; free-for-all
- to squander or waste
- to spread thickly or lavishly
Word Origin for slather
"spread liberally," 1847, of uncertain origin. Early 19c. local glossaries from western England have the word with a sense "to slip or slide."
Slather on the manure on all the hoed crops, if you have it; if not buy of your improvident neighbor. ["Genesee Farmer," June 1847]
Sometimes said to be from a dialectal noun meaning "large amount" (usually as plural, slathers), but this is first attested 1855. Related: Slathered; slathering.