Definitions and meaning of slay
From Middle English sleen, slayn, from Old English slēan (“to strike, beat, smite, stamp, forge, sting, slay, kill, impact”), from Proto-West Germanic *slahan, from Proto-Germanic *slahaną (“to fight, strike, kill”), from Proto-Indo-European *slak- (“to hit, strike, throw”).
Cognate with Dutch slaan (“to beat, hit, strike”), Low German slaan (“hit, strike”), German schlagen (“to beat, hit, strike”), Danish, Norwegian and Swedish slå (“to knock, beat, strike”), Icelandic slá (“to strike”). Related to slaughter, onslaught.
- enPR: slā, IPA(key): /sleɪ/
- Rhymes: -eɪ
- Homophones: sleigh, sley
slay (third-person singular simple present slays, present participle slaying, simple past slew or slayed, past participle slain or slayed)
- (now literary) To kill, murder.
- c. 1596-97, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act II scene i:
- The Prince of Morocco:
- […] By this scimitar,
- That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince
- That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
- I would outstare the sternest eyes that look,
- Outbrave the heart most daring on earth,
- Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
- Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
- To win thee, lady. […]
- (literary) To eradicate or stamp out.
- You must slay these thoughts.
- (by extension, hyperbolic, colloquial) To defeat, overcome (in a competition or contest).
- 1956, “Giants Slay Bears in Pro Title Battle”, in Lodi News-Sentinel, 1956 December 31, page 8.
- 1985, “Redskins slay Giants; Thiesmann shatters leg”, in The Gadsden Times, 1985 November 19, page D1-5.
- 1993, Jack Curry, “Yanks’ Bullpen Falls Short Again”, in The New York Times, 1993 April 21:
- The Yankees were actually slayed by two former Yankees because Rich Gossage pitched one scoreless inning in relief of Eckersley to notch his first victory.
- (slang) To delight or overwhelm, especially with laughter.
- Ha ha! You slay me!
- (slang, transitive, intransitive) To amaze, stun or otherwise incapacitate by awesomeness; to be awesome at something; to kill (slang sense).
- (slang) to have sex with
- 2015 Sexual Harassment in Education and Work Settings: Current Research and Best Practices for Prevention: Current Research and Best Practices for Prevention
- The Online Slang Dictionary offers nearly 200 words referring to sexual intercourse. Many of the terms and phrases connote violence, such as: “bang,” “beat,” “chopped up,” “cut,” “hit,” “hit raw,” “hit that,” “kick it,” “nail,” “pound,” “ram,” “slap and tickle,” “slay,” “smack,” “smash,” and “spank”
- The alternative past tense and past participle form "slayed" is most strongly associated with the slang sense, "to delight or overwhelm":
- Harry Charles Witwer (1929) Yes Man's Land, page 254: “"Cutey, you slayed me !" grins Jackie, working fast. "I guess that's what made the rest of 'em look so bad — you was so good!"”
- In recent use, "slayed" is also often found associated with the other senses as well. However, this is widely considered nonstandard.
- A review of US usage 2000-2009 in COCA suggests that "slayed" is increasing in popularity, but remains less common than "slew". It is very rare in UK usage (BNC).
- "Slain" has a current usage in newspaper headlines, as being shorter than "murdered".
- (to kill, murder): kill, murder, assassinate; see also Thesaurus:kill
- (to defeat, overcome): conquer, defeat, overcome
- (to overwhelm or delight): kill, hit it out of the park
- (have sex with): coitize, go to bed with, sleep with; see also Thesaurus:copulate with
From metaphorical usage of Old English slege, from Proto-West Germanic *slagi, from Proto-Germanic *slagiz.
slay (plural slayes)
- A sley or reed (part of a loom).
- “sleie, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- SLAVOPHIL, a person who admires the Slavs or their culture.
(source: Collins Scrabble Dictionary)