Definition of slither in English:



  • 1no object, with adverbial of direction Move smoothly over a surface with a twisting or oscillating motion.

    ‘I spied a baby adder slithering away’
    • ‘‘It's a place of peace for me,’ Carlos says as a black snake slithers by.’
    • ‘It felt like an oily snake slithering around in my head.’
    • ‘Artistic images of snakelike forms capture the scaly, slithering, writhing shapes of snakes as they move over the ground or swim in water.’
    • ‘Then, above our heads soared three eagles, and not long after, an adder slithered calmly between our feet.’
    • ‘A variety of snakes twisted and slithered across his shoulders down to his fingertips as if they had a life of their own.’
    • ‘What looks like oil slicks slither across the surface, multiple colors twisting over each other.’
    • ‘I look down and see a long snake slithering past us.’
    • ‘Grace and Willies peered into an aquarium, and to Willie's delight and Grace's horror, saw dozens of squirmy striped creatures slithering over each other.’
    • ‘In a moment, the forest was quiet again, and the flying and creeping things slithered and crawled to view the carnage.’
    • ‘As Satan taunts Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, a snake slithers out from beneath the underbrush.’
    • ‘Gliding smoothly under it, he slithered his fingers in between the wave in a cutting motion.’
    • ‘The ship seems to slither and move as if it's alive.’
    • ‘If you don't move fast, the snake will slither away.’
    • ‘Ben dipped under the surface, slithering like a snake after the boys.’
    • ‘The road twists vertiginously around sharp drop-offs, and nighttime is when poisonous fer-de-lance snakes slither across the road.’
    • ‘What Moon has found is that a snake slithers by bending its body into a series of S-shaped curves produced by alternating waves of muscle contraction that start at the reptile's head and move back toward its tail.’
    • ‘Most of the inhabitants could afford to buy extra water rations and keep plants, which they proudly displayed sprawling out of the windows and slithering up the pale, smooth walls of their homes.’
    • ‘There were rats and snakes crawling and slithering all over her helpless body.’
    • ‘A week or so later, the snake slithers back into the wild - broadcasting a signal to researchers about where and how it lives.’
    • ‘Creatures that slither, writhe or scuttle currently form the star attraction for visitors of all ages to the town.’
    1. 1.1 Slide or slip unsteadily on a loose or slippery surface.
      ‘we slithered down a snowy mountain track’
      • ‘Three teams will crawl and wriggle and slither to stalk and triangulate on a small guarded bridge.’
      • ‘Her biggest problem was staying upright as she slipped and slithered on the dry grass.’
      • ‘Yesterday, one bull was separated from the rest of the group when it slithered on a slippery street after recent rain.’
      • ‘Now we have a better idea where we need to make improvements, as the car was not pleasant to drive in the second half of the race, sliding and slithering on what felt like melted rubber - it gave me no chance to push as I would have liked.’
      • ‘Motorists in south Essex slipped and slithered to work today as the first snow of winter caused chaos on the roads.’
      • ‘Envelopes are rapidly slithering and sliding across the floor and plastic bags can be seen floating upwards as if they were balloons.’
      • ‘They slipped and slithered over the ice in a vain search for food.’
      • ‘Be assured that I will continue my apparent never ending cycle, struggling to push my rock up the mountain only to watch it slither and slide down after nearing the peak.’
      • ‘He stood up painfully and slithered across the slimy floor, slipping on the fish that had scattered from the broken boxes.’
      • ‘Then he slithered back down and made a lot of motions with his hands which Sanchen didn't understand.’
      • ‘Unpleasant weather conditions prevailed and the players slithering on the greasy surface was a common occurrence.’
      • ‘The performers had to make their way across the net by getting in and out of the clothes, perching and hanging, twisting and slithering their way through the canopy like primates.’
      • ‘However, handling errors among the backs saw a couple of early and valiant moves end in loss of possession, as the ball slithered and slipped through fingers.’
      • ‘I flex my legs and jump for the door, clinging to the grooves and gaps in the ceiling and twist the knob, jamming it open and slithering through.’
      • ‘So traumatized by what he saw in China, and so ashamed of being a human, the man returns to his village thinking he is a snake, slithering on the ground, hissing at former friends and family.’
      • ‘He rolled his eyes at her when she quickly moved her leg, and slithered to the other side of the bed, keeping the distance between him.’
      • ‘I crouched down without making a sound and started slithering like a snake through the bushy tomato plants that Mr. Russo had tied up on stakes.’
      • ‘Drivers slipped and slithered to work and children were told to stay away from school as heavy snow fell across Greater Manchester and the north west today.’
      • ‘We watched spellbound as they rolled around in the deep mud, then slithered and slid up the muddy bank before playfully pushing each other back down the slope.’
      • ‘Just up the hill beyond, up which our wheels slithered and slid, we left the van at the roadside and unloaded the god-goodies we'd picked up in the small town on the way.’
      slide, slip, glide, glissade
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  • 1in singular A slithering movement.

    ‘a snake-like slither across the grass’
    • ‘From somewhere behind me, I heard a slight plop, a slither and then a sudden weight on my bed.’
    • ‘The sheen of satin, the slither of the bias cut and the jewel-like colours so loved by Tamara were perfect for the Christmas fashion issue, in a season which had embraced a more conventional glamour.’
    • ‘The way on from here was a slither down an inconspicuous and rather grotty looking muddy hole.’
    • ‘He dapples the piece with shadow, signs his name in a loose-wristed slither and slides the book forward.’
    • ‘A tightish slither down at the far end of Four Ways Chamber would have bought you to the same place.’
    • ‘From there, it was a slow slither up the rocky path of opportunity.’
    • ‘It's only a matter of time until they begin researching once the first whispers about Santa's non-existence slither through the school.’
    • ‘Viro heard a slither, and a hiss, and looked above; from the rafters, a furred snake hung, its tail coiled upon a rotten wooded sign, the whitish paint flecked and gone.’
    • ‘Each rock was chosen and placed very precisely so that the pace of the water would change from a slither to a surge at various points along the waterfall's course.’
    • ‘A short slither down enters an attractive little chamber, known as Flowstone Chamber.’
    • ‘It was all silent until Jake, the last person walking, heard a slither.’
    • ‘The crawl soon gives way to a small collapse chamber where a slither through a narrow slot leads to cave of slightly more civilised proportions.’
    • ‘She had mastered the texture not only of skin but of fabrics, from the slither of silks to the deep tousle of thick wool and towelling and the stiff give of fine leather gloves.’
    • ‘The trip begins quite innocuously as a slippery slither along muddy calcite - awkward, but nothing to write home about.’
    • ‘To the right at the junction, is a slither down to a pool of water.’
  • 2British informal A sliver.

    ‘a slither of bacon’
    • ‘Myri slowly pushed the right-hand door open, allowing a slither of light to pierce the gloomy room.’
    • ‘The mainland has diminished to a thin line of green and purple trees, and, closer by, neighbouring islands are underscored by slithers of sand and backed by dense jungle.’
    • ‘I knew some pros only came for one of the days so I still had a slither of hope.’
    • ‘She found it open, revealing a slither of light.’
    • ‘Cured bresaola with goats' cheese and walnuts and the tagliete gratinate, with its grilled slithers of courgette and tomato, are rustic Italian cooking at its best.’
    • ‘The financial firm belongs to a class of companies that promises, for its shareholders, a big dollop of jam tomorrow but only a slither of dry toast today.’
    • ‘Nick's meal came served in a huge bowl: a wonderful-looking salad, full of green leaves, pepper slithers and chunks of tomato crowned with a big hunk of chicken.’
    • ‘They had the same bone structure in their faces, shown clearly as only foundation and a slither of lipstick had been applied.’
    • ‘Adverse possession isn't only about slithers of land centimetres wide, occasionally it can be about bigger parcels of land.’
    • ‘I walked down the dark hallway, only lit by slithers of light from cracks between the stones of the wall.’
    • ‘Dill pickles, a bit of cos lettuce, slithers of Parmesan - that's all you need.’
    • ‘A vivid green pile of leaves, beans and peas was crowned with slithers of smoked duck as well as pate foie gras encased in shells of duck meat.’
    • ‘A slither of light shone across the dark hall.’
    • ‘Glutton that I am, though, I was disappointed to find just four small slithers of meat atop a sculpted mountain of the red stuff.’
    • ‘But no titbits of food - well, maybe just a couple of slithers of sliced chicken.’
    • ‘The challenge now is the marathon of a 14-mile nonstop stretch of waves and holes that slithers through the curvilinear canyon like a snake on crack.’
    • ‘The band surfs along a wave of echoed percussion and slithers of organ whilst Bergsman croons.’
    • ‘The majority of bases are crowded with barely a slither of light between the bodies inhabiting them.’
    • ‘It was pitch black inside the dumpster with only a slither of light entering through the crack of the lid.’
    • ‘Or the slithers of beef sirloin marinated in chilli and lime, stir-fried with vegetables and noodles.’
    splinter, shard, shiver, chip, flake, shred, scrap, slither, shaving, paring
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Middle English: alteration of the dialect verb slidder, frequentative from the base of slide.