[slip-uh-ree, slip-ree]

adjective, slip·per·i·er, slip·per·i·est.

tending or liable to cause slipping or sliding, as ice, oil, a wet surface, etc.: a slippery road.
tending to slip from the hold or grasp or from position: a slippery rope.
likely to slip away or escape: slippery prospects.
not to be depended on; fickle; shifty, tricky, or deceitful.
unstable or insecure, as conditions: a slippery situation.

Origin of slippery

1525–35; alteration of slipper2; compare Low German slipperig; see -y1
Related formsslip·per·i·ness, nounnon·slip·per·y, adjectiveun·slip·per·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for slippery

Contemporary Examples of slippery

Historical Examples of slippery

  • In one or two spots the water ran over, and those spots were slippery.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • The door was piled with bodies, and the stone floor was slippery with blood.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • It was about ten o'clock—rainin' hard and bad goin', it was that slippery.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • Then he sprang upon the slippery rock and snatched the gold.

  • I should have believed so, if my hand which had clutched that other hand, had not been slippery with oil.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

British Dictionary definitions for slippery



causing or tending to cause objects to slipa slippery road
liable to slip from the grasp, a position, etc
not to be relied upon; cunning and untrustworthya slippery character
(esp of a situation) liable to change; unstable
slippery slope a course of action that will lead to disaster or failure
Derived Formsslipperily, adverbslipperiness, noun

Word Origin for slippery

C16: probably coined by Coverdale to translate German schlipfferig in Luther's Bible (Psalm 35:6); related to Old English slipor slippery
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 slippery

"having a slippery surface," c.1500, from Middle English sliper (adj.) "readily slipping," from Old English slipor "slippery, having a smooth surface" (see slip (v.)) + -y (2). Metaphoric sense of "deceitful, untrustworthy" is first recorded 1550s. Related: Slipperiness. In a figurative sense, slippery slope is first attested 1844. Slippery elm (1748) so called for its mucilaginous inner bark.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper