verb (used with object), slabbed, slab·bing.

Origin of slab

1250–1300; Middle English sclabbe, slabbe < ?



adjective Scot. and North England.

thick; viscous.

Origin of slab

1595–1605; apparently < Scandinavian; compare Swedish, Norwegian slabb mire, Icelandic slabba to wade in mud Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for slab

Contemporary Examples of slab

Historical Examples of slab

  • 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



a broad flat thick piece of wood, stone, or other material
a thick slice of cake, etc
any of the outside parts of a log that are sawn off while the log is being made into planks
mountaineering a flat sheet of rock lying at an angle of between 30° and 60° from the horizontal
a printer's ink table
(modifier) Australian and NZ made or constructed of coarse wooden planksa slab hut
informal, mainly British an operating or mortuary table
mainly British and Australian informal a package containing 24 cans of beer

verb slabs, slabbing or slabbed (tr)

to cut or make into a slab or slabs
to cover or lay with slabs
to saw slabs from (a log)

Word Origin for slab

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper