verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to lay about one with sharp, sweeping strokes; make one's way by cutting.
to make a sweeping, cutting stroke.


Origin of slash

1350–1400; Middle English slaschen < ?
Related formsun·slashed, adjective

Synonyms for slash




Often slashes. a tract of wet or swampy ground overgrown with bushes or trees.

Origin of slash

An Americanism dating back to 1645–55; origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for slash

Contemporary Examples of slash

Historical Examples of slash

  • Should they break through our barricades, slash at the horses with your scythes.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • With them it was snap and slash and get away, snap and slash and get away.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • Weedon Scott had believed that he was quick enough to avoid any snap or slash.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • His sword was broken by a slash from a brown bill, and he was borne to the ground.

  • All one has to do is to stop thinking and sag, or stop thinking and slash.

British Dictionary definitions for slash


verb (tr)

to cut or lay about (a person or thing) with sharp sweeping strokes, as with a sword, knife, etc
to lash with a whip
to make large gashes into slash tyres
to reduce (prices, etc) drastically
mainly US to criticize harshly
to slit (the outer fabric of a garment) so that the lining material is revealed
to clear (scrub or undergrowth) by cutting


a sharp, sweeping stroke, as with a sword or whip
a cut or rent made by such a stroke
a decorative slit in a garment revealing the lining material
US and Canadian
  1. littered wood chips and broken branches that remain after trees have been cut down
  2. an area so littered
Also called: diagonal, forward slash, separatrix, shilling mark, solidus, stroke, virgule a short oblique stroke used in text to separate items of information, such as days, months, and years in dates (18/7/80), alternative words (and/or), numerator from denominator in fractions (55/103), etc
British slang the act of urinating (esp in the phrase have a slash)
a genre of erotic fiction written by women, to appeal to women

Word Origin for slash

C14 slaschen, perhaps from Old French esclachier to break
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 slash

1540s, "to cut with a stroke of a blade or whip;" 1650s, "to strike violently," perhaps from Middle French esclachier "to break," variant of esclater "to break, splinter" (see slat). Meaning "to clear land" (of trees) is from 1821, American English. In reference to prices, it is attested from 1906. Related: Slashed; slashing. Slash-and-burn for a method of clearing forest for cultivation is from 1919.


"a cutting stroke with a weapon," 1570s, from slash (v.); sense of "slit in a garment" is from 1610s; that of "open tract in a forest" is first attested 1825, American English. As a punctuation mark in writing or printing, it is recorded from 1961.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper