[ slat-ern ]
/ ˈslæt ərn /


a slovenly, untidy woman or girl.
a slut; harlot.

Origin of slattern

First recorded in 1630–40; perhaps akin to dial. slatter to splash, spill < ?

Word story

See slut. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for slattern

British Dictionary definitions for slattern


/ (ˈslætən) /


a slovenly woman or girl; slut
Derived Formsslatternly, adjectiveslatternliness, noun

Word Origin for slattern

C17: probably from slattering, from dialect slatter to slop; perhaps from Scandinavian; compare Old Norse sletta to slap
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 slattern



1630s, "a woman negligent or disordered in her dress or household," of uncertain origin, probably related to Low German Slattje, Dutch slodder, dialectal Swedish slata "slut" (in the older, non-sexual sense; cf. slut). Cf. dialectal English verb slatter "to spill or splash awkwardly, to waste," used of women or girls considered untidy or slovenly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper