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verb (used with object), slurred, slur·ring.
  1. to pass over lightly or without due mention or consideration (often followed by over): The report slurred over her contribution to the enterprise.
  2. to pronounce (a syllable, word, etc.) indistinctly by combining, reducing, or omitting sounds, as in hurried or careless utterance.
  3. to cast aspersions on; calumniate; disparage; depreciate: The candidate was viciously slurred by his opponent.
  4. Music.
    1. to sing to a single syllable or play without a break (two or more tones of different pitch).
    2. to mark with a slur.
  5. Chiefly British Dialect. to smirch, sully, or stain.
verb (used without object), slurred, slur·ring.
  1. to read, speak, or sing hurriedly and carelessly.
  1. a slurred utterance or sound.
  2. a disparaging remark or a slight: quick to take offense at a slur;an ethnic slur against people of Irish descent.
  3. a blot or stain, as upon reputation: a slur on his good name.
  4. Music.
    1. the combination of two or more tones of different pitch, sung to a single syllable or played without a break.
    2. a curved mark indicating this.
  5. Printing. a spot that is blurred or unclear as a result of paper, plate, or blanket slippage.

Origin of slur

1595–1605; apparently of multiple orig.; in senses referring to a gliding or smooth transition, compare Low German slurren to shuffle, Dutch sleuren to trail, drag; in senses referring to a smirch or stain, compare Middle Dutch slore (Dutch sloor) sluttish woman
Related formsun·slurred, adjective

Synonyms for slur

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Antonyms for slur Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for slurring

Contemporary Examples of slurring

Historical Examples of slurring

  • Whatever Chip did he did thoroughly, with no slurring of detail.

  • He articulated with some difficulty, slurring his words to the point of indistinctness at times.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • "You were slurring again, slurring again," he said, frightened at his lack of self-control.

    The Music Master

    Charles Klein

  • Gregory smiled at her slurring reference to Hawkins' two friends.

    El Diablo

    Brayton Norton

  • Grant tried to copy the slurring softness she gave to the word.

    Dust of the Desert

    Robert Welles Ritchie

British Dictionary definitions for slurring


verb slurs, slurring or slurred (mainly tr)
  1. (often foll by over) to treat superficially, hastily, or without due deliberation; gloss
  2. (also intr) to pronounce or utter (words, etc) indistinctly
  3. to speak disparagingly of or cast aspersions on
  4. music to execute (a melodic interval of two or more notes) smoothly, as in legato performance
  5. (also intr) to blur or smear
  6. archaic to stain or smear; sully
  1. an indistinct sound or utterance
  2. a slighting remark; aspersion
  3. a stain or disgrace, as upon one's reputation; stigma
  4. music
    1. a performance or execution of a melodic interval of two or more notes in a part
    2. the curved line (⌢ or ⌣) indicating this
  5. a blur or smear

Word Origin for slur

C15: probably from Middle Low German; compare Middle Low German slūren to drag, trail, Middle Dutch sloren, Dutch sleuren
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 slurring



"deliberate slight, disparaging or slighting remark," c.1600, from dialectal slur "thin or fluid mud," from Middle English slore (mid-15c.), cognate with Middle Low German sluren, Middle Dutch sloren "to trail in mud." Related to East Frisian sluren "to go about carelessly," Norwegian slora "to be careless." Literal sense of "a mark, stain, smear" is from 1660s in English. The musical sense (1746) is from the notion of "sliding." Meaning "act or habit of slurring" in speech is from 1882.



c.1600, "smear, soil by smearing," from slur (n.). Meaning "disparage depreciate" is from 1650s. In music, from 1746; of speech, from 1893. Related: Slurred; slurring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper