[ slah-luhm, -lohm ]
/ ˈslɑ ləm, -loʊm /
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Skiing. a downhill race over a winding and zigzag course marked by poles or gates.Compare giant slalom.
any winding or zigzag course marked by obstacles or barriers, as one in which automobiles are tested for maneuverability or drivers for reaction time.
verb (used without object)
Skiing. to ski in or as if in a slalom.
to move in a winding or zigzag fashion; weave.
to follow a course with many twists and turns.
of, for, or designating a zigzag course with obstacles, barriers, or the like: an excellent slalom skier.
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Origin of slalom

1920–25; <Norwegian slalåm, equivalent to sla(d) sloping + låm track
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does slalom mean?

Slalom refers to the type of skiing and snowboarding event that takes place on a winding, downhill course marked by a series of boundary poles or gates, which the racer is required to stay between while attempting to cross the finish line in the shortest possible time.

There are several slalom events in the Winter Olympics. In skiing, these include the slalom as well as the giant slalom and the super giant slalom (popularly called Super G), which feature longer courses and more widely spaced gates. In snowboarding, there is an event called the parallel giant slalom. (In slalom events, the word parallel indicates that two racers compete simultaneously on identically spaced courses).

Such competitive skiing events are categorized as types of Alpine skiing (in contrast with Nordic skiing, which includes cross-country skiing and ski jumping). Alpine skiing is sometimes more generally called downhill skiing. The term downhill is also used in a more specific way as the name of the Alpine skiing event that takes place on a relatively straight downhill course—without gates.

There are also slalom events in the Paralympic Winter Games.

In slalom events, the gates or poles are laid out in different variations and combinations based on the course and the competition rules. It is common for racers to hit the gates as they pass them in order to take the most direct (and fastest) route to the next gate.

Example: I like the speed of the downhill event, but I prefer the added challenge of slalom.

Where does slalom come from?

The first records of the word slalom in English come from the 1920s. It comes from the Norwegian word slalåm, from sla(d), meaning “sloping,” and låm, meaning “track.”

The creation of competitive slalom is credited to Arnold Lunn, a British skier and winter athlete who developed the sport in the 1920s.

The slalom event in skiing was first included in the Winter Olympics in 1936. The giant slalom event was added in 1952, and the super giant slalom (super G) event was added in 1988. The first snowboarding slalom event was featured in 1998.

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What are some words that share a root or word element with slalom

What are some words that often get used in discussing slalom?

How is slalom used in real life?

The term slalom is used in both skiing and snowboarding. It is used in the names of multiple events, including slalom, giant slalom, super giant slalom (super G), and parallel giant slalom.


Try using slalom!

True or False? 

In slalom events, racers are not allowed to touch the gates in any way.

How to use slalom in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for slalom

/ (ˈslɑːləm) /

skiing a race, esp one downhill, over a winding course marked by artificial obstacles
a similar type of obstacle race in canoes
(intr) to take part in a slalom

Word Origin for slalom

Norwegian, from slad sloping + lom path
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