See more synonyms for slug on
  1. any of various snaillike terrestrial gastropods having no shell or only a rudimentary one, feeding on plants and a pest of leafy garden crops.
  2. a nudibranch.
  3. a metal disk used as a coin or token, generally counterfeit.
  4. a piece of lead or other metal for firing from a gun.
  5. any heavy piece of crude metal.
  6. Printing.
    1. a thick strip of type metal less than type-high.
    2. such a strip containing a type-high number or other character for temporary use.
    3. a line of type in one piece, as produced by a Linotype.
  7. Informal. a shot of liquor taken neat; belt.
  8. Slang. a person who is lazy or slow-moving; sluggard.
  9. a slow-moving animal, vehicle, or the like.
  10. Journalism.
    1. Also called catchline.a short phrase or title used to indicate the story content of newspaper or magazine copy.
    2. the line of type carrying this information.
  11. Metalworking. a small piece of metal ready for processing.
  12. a gold coin of California, privately issued in 1849 and for some time after, worth 50 dollars.
  13. Physics. a unit of mass, equivalent to approximately 32.2 pounds (15 kg) and having the property that a force of one pound acting upon a mass of this unit produces an acceleration of one foot per second per second.
  14. an irregular projection or knob on the surface of yarn, usually produced by lint or by defects in weaving.
verb (used with object), slugged, slug·ging.
  1. Printing.
    1. to make (corrections) by replacing entire lines of type, especially as set by a Linotype.
    2. to check the lines of (typeset copy) against copy of the previous typesetting stage to ensure that no line has been omitted, especially before printing or plating.
  2. Journalism. to furnish (copy) with a slug.
  3. to interpolate pieces of metal into (a joint being welded).

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.
  1. to strike heavily; hit hard, especially with the fist.
  2. to hit or drive (a baseball) very hard or a great distance.
verb (used without object), slugged, slug·ging.
  1. to hit or be capable of hitting hard.
  2. to trudge, fight, or push onward, as against obstacles or through mud or snow: The infantry slugged up the hill and dug in.
  1. a hard blow or hit, especially with a fist or baseball bat.
  1. slug it out,
    1. to fight, especially with fists, until a decisive victory has been achieved.
    2. to succeed or survive by constant and intense struggle.

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. 2018

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


  1. 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
  2. any of various other invertebrates having a soft slimy body, esp the larvae of certain sawflies
  3. 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


  1. 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
  2. metallurgy a metal blank from which small forgings are worked
  3. a bullet or pellet larger than a pellet of buckshot
  4. mainly US and Canadian a metal token for use in slot machines, etc
  5. printing
    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
  6. a draught of a drink, esp an alcoholic one
  7. 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
  1. to hit very hard and solidly, as in boxing
  2. (intr) US and Canadian to plod as if through snow
  3. (tr) Australian and NZ informal to charge (someone) an exorbitant price
  4. slug it out informal to fight, compete, or struggle with fortitude
  1. an act of slugging; heavy blow
  2. 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