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See more synonyms for slab on Thesaurus.com
  1. a broad, flat, somewhat thick piece of stone, wood, or other solid material.
  2. a thick slice of anything: a slab of bread.
  3. a semifinished piece of iron or steel so rolled that its breadth is at least twice its thickness.
  4. a rough outside piece cut from a log, as when sawing one into boards.
  5. Baseball Slang. rubber1(def 14).
  6. Building Trades. a section of concrete pavement or a concrete floor placed directly on the ground or on a base of gravel.
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verb (used with object), slabbed, slab·bing.
  1. to make into a slab or slabs.
  2. to cover or lay with slabs.
  3. to cut the slabs or outside pieces from (a log).
  4. to put on in slabs; cover thickly.
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Origin of slab1

1250–1300; Middle English sclabbe, slabbe < ?


adjective Scot. and North England.
  1. thick; viscous.
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Origin of slab2

1595–1605; apparently < Scandinavian; compare Swedish, Norwegian slabb mire, Icelandic slabba to wade in mud
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

plate, stone, slice, ingot, wedge, rod, lump, hunk, strip, piece, cut, bar, billet, stave, muck, portion, cutting, stick, bit, chip

Examples from the Web for slab

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But this slab of black basalt was different from anything that had ever been discovered.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Then I come on a slab of gray stone upstanding about fifteen feet.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • The slab moved upward an inch or two, grating in its rough grooves.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • Steenie stood smiling and undecided on the slab in front of the doorstep.

    Heather and Snow

    George MacDonald

  • Taking up a Bondon, she turned it round, and put it down on the slab again.

British Dictionary definitions for slab


  1. a broad flat thick piece of wood, stone, or other material
  2. a thick slice of cake, etc
  3. any of the outside parts of a log that are sawn off while the log is being made into planks
  4. mountaineering a flat sheet of rock lying at an angle of between 30° and 60° from the horizontal
  5. a printer's ink table
  6. (modifier) Australian and NZ made or constructed of coarse wooden planksa slab hut
  7. informal, mainly British an operating or mortuary table
  8. mainly British and Australian informal a package containing 24 cans of beer
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verb slabs, slabbing or slabbed (tr)
  1. to cut or make into a slab or slabs
  2. to cover or lay with slabs
  3. to saw slabs from (a log)
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Word Origin

C13: of unknown 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

Word Origin and History for slab


late 13c., "large, flat mass," of unknown origin, possibly related to Old French escopel, escalpe "thin fragment of wood," which according to Klein is possibly a Gaulish word (cf. Breton scolp, Welsh ysgolp "splinter, chip"). But OED rejects this on formal grounds. Meaning "rectangular block of pre-cast concrete used in building" is from 1927. Slab-sided is "having flat sides like slabs," hence "tall and lank" (1817, American English).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper