adjective, slick·er, slick·est.



smoothly; cleverly.

Origin of slick

1300–50; Middle English slike (adj.); cognate with dialectal Dutch sleek even, smooth; akin to slick2
Related formsslick·ly, adverbslick·ness, noun

Synonyms for slick



verb (used with object)

to make sleek or smooth.
to use a slicker on (skins or hides).
Informal. to make smart or fine; spruce up (usually followed by up).


Metallurgy. a small trowel used for smoothing the surface of the mold.
any woodworking chisel having a blade more than 2 inches (5 cm) wide.

Origin of slick

before 900; Middle English slicken (v.), Old English slician; akin to Old Norse slīkja to give a gloss to
Related formsun·slicked, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for slick

Contemporary Examples of slick

Historical Examples of slick

  • And can you tie up a bundle quick and slick and make it look neat?

  • But that minnit I seen an arm shoot out and that fellow shot off as slick!

  • She' always up to somethin' to make a dollar, and she's as slick a talker as ever was, I guess.

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • What the Queen wanted most at the moment was to be quick and slick in getting off.

    The Island Mystery

    George A. Birmingham

  • Slick” was a word which she had recently learned from Smith.

    The Island Mystery

    George A. Birmingham

British Dictionary definitions for slick



flattering and gliba slick salesman
adroitly devised or executeda slick show
informal, mainly US and Canadian shrewd; sly
informal superficially attractivea slick publication
mainly US and Canadian smooth and glossy; slippery


a slippery area, esp a patch of oil floating on water
a chisel or other tool used for smoothing or polishing a surface
the tyre of a racing car that has worn treads

verb (tr)

mainly US and Canadian to make smooth or sleek
US and Canadian informal (usually foll by up) to smarten or tidy (oneself)
(often foll by up) to make smooth or glossy
Derived Formsslickly, adverbslickness, noun

Word Origin for slick

C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Icelandic, Norwegian slikja to be or make smooth
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 slick

Old English -slician (in nigslicod "newly made sleek"), from Proto-Germanic *slikojan, from base *slikaz (cf. Old Norse slikr "smooth," Old High German slihhan "to glide," German schleichen "to creep, crawl, sneak," Dutch slijk "mud, mire"), from PIE *sleig- "to smooth, glide, be muddy," from root *(s)lei- "slimy" (see slime (n.)). Related: Slicked; slicking.


1620s, a kind of cosmetic, from slick (v.). Meaning "smooth place on the surface of water caused by oil, etc." is attested from 1849. Meaning "a swindler, clever person" is attested from 1959.


early 14c., "smooth, glossy, sleek" (of skin or hair); sense of "clever in deception" is first recorded 1590s; that of "first-class, excellent" is from 1833. Related: Slickly; slickness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper