Main definitions of slay in English

: slay1slay2



[WITH OBJECT]literary, Archaic
  • 1 Kill (a person or animal) in a violent way.

    ‘St George slew the dragon’
    • ‘They crawled out, brushed one another clean, slid the saloon-pistols down a trouser-leg, and hurried forth to a deep and solitary Devonshire lane in whose flanks a boy might sometimes slay a young rabbit.’
    • ‘She did just that and on a day in August slew the beast, just as St. George did the Dragon.’
    • ‘In the same sector, on the evening of February 22, 2003, a dog was slain by the beast that prowls the Candelero Abajo Sector.’
    • ‘‘It looked like a big, dirty white dog,’ says motorcycle cop Paul Lucier, who slew the beast on St-Joseph.’
    • ‘In certain African tribes, one had to slay a lion to prove one's manhood.’
    murder, killing, homicide, putting to death, execution, butchery, slaughter, massacre, assassination, dispatch, destruction, extermination
    kill, murder, put to death, do to death, put to the sword, butcher, cut down, cut to pieces, slaughter, massacre, shoot down, gun down, mow down, assassinate, execute, dispatch, destroy, eliminate, annihilate, exterminate, dispose of
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    1. 1.1North American Murder (someone) (used chiefly in journalism)
      ‘a man was slain with a shotgun’
      • ‘Barnes was slain in a double murder one week before the Baltimore Ravens selected Lewis in the first round of the 1996 NFL draft.’
      • ‘He was killed when his plane was shot down and that only encouraged the Hutu militia to slay Tutsi men, women and children, anywhere they could find them.’
      • ‘Michael Mitchell had a satisfying little existence going until the tragic day his son was slain in a gangland shootout.’
      • ‘When the IRA bombed Hyde Park in 1982 four members of the distinguished regiment and seven horses were slain.’
      • ‘Those with less time will be better off with Andromache, the story of a woman forced to marry her husband's murderer to prevent him slaying her son.’
    2. 1.2informal Greatly impress or amuse (someone)
      ‘you slay me, you really do’
      • ‘One thing that slew me about Warburton's performance as the Tick: instead of the constant bluster of the cartoon voice, he would occasionally drop to a hushed tones that were pure Adam West.’
      • ‘And she's an eccentric Aquarius, which slays me every time.’
      • ‘Even if he had slain the government on tax cuts, he could not have won.’
      • ‘It's Saturday night, you want to go to the movies, every single one of them will sort of amuse you but not one of them is going to slay you.’
      • ‘If I hadn't got them autographs and they'd found out I'd been in the great woman's orbit, they'd have slain me.’
      • ‘The catchphrase was delivered with a look of saucer-eyed amazement which slayed the studio audience every time.’
      • ‘It's the usual laughably inane business, but this one part slayed me with its sheer genius.’
      • ‘Even though I think 80s music was pretty bad, the nostalgia's slaying me every time.’
      • ‘After the title track slays you with its intro - a minute plus of sweet guitar licks - the dual, give-and-take boy-girl lead vocals will capture your heart until you're screaming along without even knowing the words.’
      • ‘This group, the godfathers of World music, slayed me in '71 with their eponymous debut album.’


Old English slēan ‘strike, kill’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch slaan and German schlagen.




Main definitions of slay in English

: slay1slay2



  • variant spelling of sley