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

Related Words for slattern

floozy, wanton, tramp, jade, hussy, baggage, wench, vamp, hooker, tart, harlot, whore, prostitute

Examples from the Web for slattern

Historical Examples of slattern

  • It is true that Nanny was a slattern, but only because she married into slavery.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie

  • From her I learned that because one is an actress it is not necessary to be a slattern.

    Ten American Girls From History

    Kate Dickinson Sweetser

  • It was still early in the day and there was something of the slattern in her dragging gown.

    Doom Castle

    Neil Munro

  • It seemed to her that they would mock her as the slattern had mocked her, should she appeal to them.

    'Drag' Harlan

    Charles Alden Seltzer

  • I took a sort of hate against her, she was such a slattern and so inquisitive.

    A Book of Ghosts

    Sabine Baring-Gould

British Dictionary definitions for slattern



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