[ slee-zee, sley-zee ]
/ ˈsli zi, ˈsleɪ zi /

adjective, slea·zi·er, slea·zi·est.

contemptibly low, mean, or disreputable: sleazy politics.
squalid; sordid; filthy; dilapidated: a sleazy hotel.
thin or poor in texture, as a fabric; cheap; flimsy: a sleazy dress; a sleazy excuse.

Origin of sleazy

1635–45; (def 3) of obscure origin (probably unrelated to Silesia other than by folk etymology); sense of defs 1, 2 (first attested 1941) perhaps represent a distinct word
Related formsslea·zi·ly, adverbslea·zi·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sleazy

British Dictionary definitions for sleazy


/ (ˈsliːzɪ) /

adjective -zier or -ziest

sordid; disreputablea sleazy nightclub
thin or flimsy, as cloth
Derived Formssleazily, adverbsleaziness, noun

Word Origin for sleazy

C17: origin uncertain
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 sleazy



1640s, "downy, fuzzy," later "flimsy, unsubstantial" (1660s), of unknown origin; one theory is that it is a corruption of Silesia, the German region, where thin linen or cotton fabric was made for export. Silesia in reference to cloth is attested in English from 1670s; and sleazy as an abbreviated form is attested from 1670), but OED is against this. Sense of "sordid" is from 1941. Related: Sleazily; sleaziness.

A day is a more magnificent cloth than any muslin, the mechanism that makes it is infinitely cunninger, and you shall not conceal the sleazy, fraudulent, rotten hours you have slipped into the piece, nor fear that any honest thread, or straighter steel, or more inflexible shaft, will not testify in the web. [Emerson, "The Conduct of Life," 1860]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper