verb (used without object)

to slide down or along a surface, especially unsteadily, from side to side, or with some friction or noise: The box slithered down the chute.
to go or walk with a sliding motion: The snake slithered across the path.

verb (used with object)

to cause to slither or slide.


a slithering movement; slide.

Nearby words

  1. slit,
  2. slit fricative,
  3. slit pocket,
  4. slit trench,
  5. slit-drum,
  6. slithery,
  7. slitlamp,
  8. sliven,
  9. sliver,
  10. sliver building

Origin of slither

1150–1200; Middle English slitheren, variant of sliddren, Old English slid(e)rian, frequentative of slīdan to slide; see -er6

Related formsslith·er·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for slithery

  • So we hastened to the stable yard and inspected the kennels, where the two mothers lay with their slithery tail-wagging broods.

    The Mountebank|William J. Locke
  • Up we went another twenty yards, then another; but always to find that slithery rock-face mocking our efforts to outflank it.

    Unexplored Spain|Abel Chapman
  • Then came the sound of a hearty greeting in a masculine voice, followed by a slithery sound of wet clothing.

British Dictionary definitions for slithery


adjective -ier or -iest

moving with a slithering motion
suggestive of a slithering creature



to move or slide or cause to move or slide unsteadily, as on a slippery surface
(intr) to travel with a sliding motion


a slithering motion

Word Origin for slither

Old English slidrian, from slīdan to slide

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 slithery
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper