verb (used with object), slugged, slug·ging.

Origin of slug

1375–1425; late Middle English slugge sluggard < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian (dial.) sluggje heavy, slow person
Related formsslug·like, adjective



verb (used with object), slugged, slug·ging.

to strike heavily; hit hard, especially with the fist.
to hit or drive (a baseball) very hard or a great distance.

verb (used without object), slugged, slug·ging.

to hit or be capable of hitting hard.
to trudge, fight, or push onward, as against obstacles or through mud or snow: The infantry slugged up the hill and dug in.


a hard blow or hit, especially with a fist or baseball bat.

Origin of slug

1820–30; orig. in phrase hit with a slug; see slug1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for slug

knock, bat, punch, slap, swat, smack, slam, bang, whack, bash, belt, pound, bump, clout, nail, hammer, clock, pelt, sock, club

Examples from the Web for slug

Contemporary Examples of slug

Historical Examples of slug

  • But the slug instead of dropping the bear served only to enrage him.

    The Mountain Divide

    Frank H. Spearman

  • One barrel was loaded with a heavy charge of buckshot, and the other with a slug.

    The Boy Settlers

    Noah Brooks

  • Limaciform: having the form of a Limax or slug; said of larvae.

  • He'd have to hunt him up, the next day or so, and slug it out with him.

    Masters of Space

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • I don't believe that was an Armstrong slug, though: it acted too sort of lazy.

    Left on Labrador

    Charles Asbury Stephens

British Dictionary definitions for slug




any of various terrestrial gastropod molluscs of the genera Limax, Arion, etc, in which the body is elongated and the shell is absent or very much reducedCompare sea slug Related adjective: limacine
any of various other invertebrates having a soft slimy body, esp the larvae of certain sawflies
informal, mainly US and Canadian a slow-moving or lazy person or animal

Word Origin for slug

C15 (in the sense: a slow person or animal): probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian (dialect) sluggje




an fps unit of mass; the mass that will acquire an acceleration of 1 foot per second per second when acted upon by a force of 1 pound. 1 slug is approximately equal to 32.17 pounds
metallurgy a metal blank from which small forgings are worked
a bullet or pellet larger than a pellet of buckshot
mainly US and Canadian a metal token for use in slot machines, etc
  1. a thick strip of type metal that is less than type-high and is used for spacing
  2. a similar strip carrying a type-high letter, used as a temporary mark by compositors
  3. a metal strip containing a line of characters as produced by a linecaster
a draught of a drink, esp an alcoholic one
a magnetic core that is screwed into or out of an inductance coil to adjust the tuning of a radio frequency amplifier

Word Origin for slug

C17 (bullet), C19 (printing): perhaps from slug 1, with allusion to the shape of the animal



verb slugs, slugging or slugged

to hit very hard and solidly, as in boxing
(intr) US and Canadian to plod as if through snow
(tr) Australian and NZ informal to charge (someone) an exorbitant price
slug it out informal to fight, compete, or struggle with fortitude


an act of slugging; heavy blow
Australian and NZ informal an exorbitant charge or price

Word Origin for slug

C19: perhaps from slug ² (bullet)
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 slug

"shell-less land snail," 1704, originally "lazy person" (early 15c.); related to sluggard.


"lead bit," 1620s, perhaps a special use of slug (n.1), perhaps on some supposed resemblance. Meaning "token or counterfeit coin" first recorded 1881; meaning "strong drink" first recorded 1756, perhaps from slang fire a slug "take a drink," though it also may be related to Irish slog "swallow." Journalism sense is from 1925, originally a short guideline for copy editors at the head of a story.


"a hard blow," 1830, dialectal, of uncertain origin; perhaps related to slaughter or perhaps a secondary form of slay.


"deliver a hard blow with the fist," 1862, from slug (n.3). Related: Slugged; slugging. Slugging-match is from 1878.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper