[ slohp ]
/ sloʊp /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: slope / slopes / sloping on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object), sloped, slop·ing.
to have or take an inclined or oblique direction or angle considered with reference to a vertical or horizontal plane; slant.
to move at an inclination or obliquely: They sloped gradually westward.
verb (used with object), sloped, slop·ing.
to direct at a slant or inclination; incline from the horizontal or vertical: The sun sloped its beams.
to form with a slope or slant: to slope an embankment.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Idioms about slope

    slope off, Chiefly British Slang. to make one's way out slowly or furtively.

Origin of slope

First recorded in 1495–1505; aphetic variant of aslope; akin to slip1

synonym study for slope

1. Slope, slant mean to incline away from a relatively straight surface or line used as a reference. To slope is to incline vertically in an oblique direction: The ground slopes ( upward or downward ) sharply here. To slant is to fall to one side, to lie obliquely to some line whether horizontal or perpendicular: The road slants off to the right.

usage note for slope


slop·ing·ly, adverbslop·ing·ness, nounun·sloped, adjectiveun·slop·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does slope mean?

In mathematics, the slope (also called the gradient) of a line is a measurement of how steep the line is or how much of a slant it has.

In math, a line is an object with no thickness that extends forever in both directions. In basic math, we assume lines to be perfectly straight, meaning they don’t curve or change directions to form angles.

Take a piece of graph paper to create a Cartesian plane by drawing two perpendicular lines. These two lines are called the axes. The axis going sideways is the x-axis, and the axis going up and down is the y-axis. We use these axes to label where any point on the plane is located. You can then measure the slope of a line compared to the x-axis by using the Cartesian coordinates on your Cartesian plane.

Why is slope important?

The first records of the word slope, which has several other meanings, come from around 1495. It emerged as a variant of the word aslope, meaning “diagonally” or “aslant.” Mathematical slopes and (Cartesian coordinates) were formulated by mathematician and philosopher René Descartes (1596–1650).

In basic math, we only measure slopes of straight lines. Finding the slopes of curved or nonlinear lines is much more complicated and is usually used to introduce students to derivatives in calculus.

Did you know … ?

A horizontal line has a slope of 0, while a vertical line has an undefined slope. The reason for the undefined slope is that the x coordinates would be the same and equal 0 when subtracted from each other. Because you cannot divide by 0, the slope of a vertical line is impossible to determine.

What are real-life examples of slope?

Slopes and slope formulas are a relatively simple mathematical concept that will nonetheless cause misery to students who don’t enjoy math.


What other words are related to slope?

Quiz yourself!

True or False?

In mathematics, the slope of a line is calculated using Cartesian coordinates.

How to use slope in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for slope

/ (sləʊp) /


Derived forms of slope

sloper, nounsloping, adjectiveslopingly, adverbslopingness, noun

Word Origin for slope

C15: short for aslope, perhaps from the past participle of Old English āslūpan to slip away, from slūpan to slip
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