• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to spread or apply thickly: to slather butter on toast.
  2. to spread something thickly on (usually followed by with): to slather toast with butter.
  3. to spend or use lavishly.
Show More
  1. Often slathers. a generous amount: slathers of money.
Show More
  1. open slather, Australian. complete freedom.
Show More

Origin of slather

1810–20, in sense “to slip, slide”; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for slathers

oodles, portray, sketch, depict, coat, cover, draw, daub, wash, tint, design, decorate, dye, brush, scrub, knead, glaze, scrape, grind, paint

Examples from the Web for slathers

Historical Examples of slathers

  • He had slews and slathers of money, as Yankee Bill would say.

    A Son Of The Sun

    Jack London

  • The rains have brought mushrooms, slathers of mushrooms, and I joy in gathering them.

    The Prairie Child

    Arthur Stringer

  • And they get slathers of money—most a dollar a day, Ben Rogers says.

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • Avoid putting on the adhesive material in "gobs and slathers."

    The Butterfly Book

    William Jacob Holland

  • They've got slathers of money an' they're sure dippy on each other.

British Dictionary definitions for slathers


  1. (usually plural) informal a large quantity
  2. open slather Australian and NZ slang a situation in which there are no restrictions; free-for-all
Show More
verb (tr) US and Canadian slang
  1. to squander or waste
  2. to spread thickly or lavishly
Show More

Word Origin for slather

C19: 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 slathers



"spread liberally," 1847, of uncertain origin. Early 19c. local glossaries from western England have the word with a sense "to slip or slide."

Slather on the manure on all the hoed crops, if you have it; if not buy of your improvident neighbor. ["Genesee Farmer," June 1847]

Sometimes said to be from a dialectal noun meaning "large amount" (usually as plural, slathers), but this is first attested 1855. Related: Slathered; slathering.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper