sweeping; cutting.
violent; severe: a slashing wind.
dashing; impetuous.
vivid; flashing; brilliant.
Informal. very large or fine; splendid: a slashing fortune.

Origin of slashing

First recorded in 1590–1600; slash1 + -ing1, -ing2
Related formsslash·ing·ly, adverb



verb (used with object)

to cut with a violent sweeping stroke or by striking violently and at random, as with a knife or sword.
to lash; whip.
to cut, reduce, or alter: The editors slashed the story to half its length.
to make slits in (a garment) to show an underlying fabric.
to criticize, censure, or attack in a savage or cutting manner.

verb (used without object)

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


a sweeping stroke, as with a knife, sword, or pen.
a cut, wound, or mark made with such a stroke.
a curtailment, reduction, or alteration: a drastic slash of prices.
a decorative slit in a garment showing an underlying fabric.
  1. a short oblique stroke (/) between two words indicating that whichever is appropriate may be chosen to complete the sense of the text in which they occur; a virgule: you and/or your dependents.
  2. a dividing line, as in dates, fractions, a run-in passage of poetry to show verse division, etc.; a virgule: She got 3/4 of the answers correct. “Sweetest love, I do not go/For weariness of thee.” (John Donne)
Compare forward slash, backslash.
(in forest land)
  1. an open area strewn with debris of trees from felling or from wind or fire.
  2. the debris itself.
Slang. slash fiction.

Origin of slash

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

Synonyms for slash Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for slashing

Contemporary Examples of slashing

Historical Examples of slashing

  • In the forests the loggers were tearing and slashing into all but the remnant of the 96 timber.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • Sail had been lowered by slashing away the ropes that held the yards.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • “You and Mattawa are about through with that slashing contract,” he said.

    The Greater Power

    Harold Bindloss

  • A thrust, a slashing blow, and the Drilgo was weltering in his life-blood.

  • An instant later he was locked in the clutch of the yelling, slashing Apache.

    Bloom of Cactus

    Robert Ames Bennet

British Dictionary definitions for slashing



aggressively or harshly critical (esp in the phrase slashing attack)
Derived Formsslashingly, adverb


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 slashing



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