Definition of slap in English:



  • 1 Hit (someone or something) with the palm of one's hand or a flat object.

    ‘my sister slapped my face’
    • ‘Aaron and Adam had begun slapping each other on the cheek with one hand while the other punched the other one in the arm.’
    • ‘She shot me a fierce look as I began slapping her rapidly.’
    • ‘A traffic cop pounced on them and, screaming abuses, began slapping one of the men, who could not even shield himself for fear that the cart would go out of control.’
    • ‘I drew near and he began to slap me in my face and ears with his sopping wet hands.’
    • ‘Finally I began to gently slap him in the face in an attempt to wake him up.’
    • ‘The boy smirked and reached out his palm, which was slapped extremely hard by the rest of his gang.’
    • ‘Kaia yelled, then grabbed Kurono by the neck and began slapping him.’
    • ‘Dymphna's spine stiffened and she had to force herself not to strike out and slap him.’
    • ‘Kameko jumped on top on Turk and began to slap him.’
    • ‘After I'd almost recovered, he dragged me out of bed and began slapping me.’
    • ‘Shane and Caith had begun to slap one another on the crown, as opposed to smoothing the other's hair.’
    • ‘I brought up my hand, either to punch her or to slap her, but she stepped back.’
    • ‘Alexis turned back to Fred and began slapping him lightly on the cheek.’
    • ‘When I visit Croatia, some of my friends, in conversation, keep touching my shoulder and my biceps, and if we sit down, they slap me on the knee.’
    • ‘When she saw that they were most definitely not headed home, she began slapping him and making angry sounds.’
    • ‘She claims she has been slapped, punched and called names on the way to school.’
    • ‘I hit her hard into the face causing her to jump on to me and begin slapping me, her hand had my hair and was slamming me into the ground.’
    • ‘The women then began slapping Tahir and pushing him forward toward the police and security troops, who proceeded to capture him.’
    • ‘Without thinking, Colget leapt over the seat, bumping the steering wheel with his foot as he did so, and began slapping Gregor in the face.’
    • ‘Julianna shouted, standing up and slapping her palms down flat on her desk.’
    hit, strike, smack, crack, clout, cuff, thump, punch, thwack, spank, rap, beat
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    1. 1.1[no object]Hit against or into something with the sound of a slap.
      ‘water slapped against the boat’
      • ‘My exposed feet slapped against the smooth steel floor as I moved across the platforms.’
      • ‘The trees bowed against the force of the wind, and leaves slapped against the outside of the window.’
      • ‘We stood there silently for a few minutes, only the sound of the waves gently slapping against the boat could be heard.’
      • ‘His hands slapped against the fur of her forearms, their low growls lost on the breeze.’
      • ‘This can be done using metal to sound like thunder, or meat slapped against a block to imitate a punch.’
      • ‘The wrapper flew off, carried by its momentum, and slapped against the wall ten feet to my right.’
      • ‘Her black sketcher school regulation shoes slapped against the pavement as she ran.’
      • ‘Vix hurried behind him, wincing at the sound of their boots slapping against the hard metallic floor, and hoped that she could keep up with him.’
      • ‘Her shoes slapped against the cracked sidewalk over and over as she walked stiffly.’
      • ‘As I finally drifted off to sleep on my tiny bunk to the sound of waves slapping gently against the boat and the occasional mysterious creak, I wondered how I'd ever remember it all.’
      • ‘The sound of fins slapping against the water can be just as terrifying as low-pitched violin notes.’
      • ‘A few days later, William was snapped to attention by the sound of a magazine slapping on the coffee table in front of him.’
      • ‘Sweat soon coated her forehead and slicked her arms as her skin slapped against the skin of strangers.’
      • ‘The tide slapped against the dock wall, and seagulls croaked as they bobbed on the waves, or flew above their heads.’
      • ‘The sound of feet slapping against the pavement echoed around me, ringing in my ears.’
      • ‘He had heard something go bang in the night - followed by what seemed to be the sound of a metal spoon slapping onto pink flesh.’
      • ‘I like the feel of the sand between my toes, the warmth of the sun on my back, and the rhythmic sound of the ocean waves slapping against the shore.’
      • ‘The ripples silently hit the tub before crashing waves slapped against the metal sides.’
      • ‘You could hear the sounds of the water slapping as it rippled on the shore.’
      • ‘As she made her slow journey across the room, she heard the faint sound of bare flesh slapping against the stone tile.’
    2. 1.2informal Reprimand someone forcefully.
      • ‘She slaps me down for asking his name: ‘It wouldn't mean anything to you,’ she says firmly.’
      • ‘If I were a dictator, I could just slap him down or retract the broadcasting licenses of the media on his payroll.’
      • ‘Now, before anyone slaps me down for being ham-fisted, this could be taken either way.’
      • ‘Why is it you've survived 25 years on this earth without the world slapping you down?’
      • ‘It's quite extraordinary that a cabinet minister with some authority said something and an un-elected adviser slapped him down.’
      • ‘A controversial councillor has been slapped down by his Labour colleagues over his proposal to change Bolton's name.’
      • ‘But if it takes the judge's advice and includes all calls, the FTC will be slapped down by the Supreme Court for violating the First Amendment rights of politicians and charities.’
      • ‘There are some people in the press who go too far, and it is fair enough to slap them down when they do.’
      • ‘Things have gotten so bad for him, that any commoner with a medical professorship can slap him down.’
      • ‘Never mind, I say cheerfully, I expect he will slap me down if I overstep the mark.’
      reprimand, rebuke, reproach, scold, admonish, take to task
      squash, squelch, put down, put someone in their place, take down a peg or two, deflate
      tell off
      tick off, have a go at
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    3. 1.3Put or apply (something) somewhere quickly, carelessly, or forcefully.
      ‘slap on a bit of makeup’
      • ‘He quickly slapped it away and yelled at her to get the hell out of there.’
      • ‘So I will slap a bit around in the weekend, and we will see what everyone thinks.’
      • ‘I slapped my copy in the CD player as soon as I got home from the pub last night, and cranked up the volume.’
      • ‘Aurora felt something rise within her throat and she slapped a hand over her mouth quickly.’
      • ‘Megan quickly slapped her hand away from her mouth and gave her a reproving look.’
      • ‘He had slapped a hard copy of his warrant on the clerk's desk as soon as he had entered.’
      • ‘Ignore toothpaste and other items of ‘oral care’, ignore medicines and tablets, and ignore things that you only slap on occasionally.’
      • ‘‘He slaps steak on to the grill, gulps from beer in one hand then attacks the meat with tongs in the other,’ he says.’
      • ‘Normally, I would just slap on some lipstick and put on the first article of clothing I saw.’
      • ‘What do you get when you take a standard computer case, slap on a nice paint job, and style the front a bit?’
      • ‘Amanda's mother gasped, slapping her hand to her mouth, and quickly knelt down beside her.’
      • ‘It's not like a sports massage, where they really get the elbows and thumbs in; in a spa, they just slap on some oil and rub your skin.’
      • ‘If all you plan to do is slap on a coat of bottom paint and get your boat back in the water, consider how an engine failure or need for a tow could cut into your summer fun.’
      • ‘Chris blinked, a bit of dry laughter seeping through his lips as he slapped a hand over his eyes.’
      • ‘Hello, I've tried to understand what you're doing by slapping some example activities and technologies on a copy of your diagram.’
      • ‘The girl took her hand off my mouth and quickly slapped a strip of duct tape over it.’
      • ‘I slap the tuna onto a cracker and pensively munch while examining the rest of the refrigerator.’
      • ‘He pulled a glob of scum from the bucket and slapped it across her mouth; it spread to cover the lower half of her face like a gag.’
      • ‘As she claimed to perform massage, butter was slapped over all of my sunburnt skin.’
      • ‘A group of little girls slap makeup on a friend and make her the bride in a make believe wedding.’
      daub, plaster, spread
      fling, throw, toss, sling, slam, bang
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    4. 1.4informal Impose a fine or other penalty on.
      ‘the government had slapped an embargo on imports’
      • ‘Now, all it takes is a watchful sanitation worker to slap a fine on the offender.’
      • ‘Earlier this year Ottawa unveiled a draft law that proposed slapping fines on those possessing small amounts of the drug.’
      • ‘The parking wardens have no problem and are very quick at slapping fines on people who park illegally around Portlaoise.’
      • ‘School chiefs in Swindon have been told to slap fines on parents or even put them in jail if their children play truant from school.’
      • ‘The mum of a disabled boy today hit out at a parking warden who slapped a fine on their specially adapted car - because it overhung the bay.’
      • ‘The Optical Council slapped its harshest sanction on its member and struck his name from the register.’
      • ‘The get tough stance comes just a few weeks after parking attendants in the town were criticised for slapping fines on coaches picking up children from a Christmas pantomime.’
      • ‘The Corporation is, in fact, contemplating of slapping fines on those who refuse to take up the rainwater harvesting.’
      • ‘Both were later freed after rebellion charges slapped against the two were dropped.’
      • ‘Councillors have slapped a tree preservation order on parts of the old Turner's site.’
      • ‘If we dare to not be as accountable as they demand they will slap heavy fines on us.’
      impose, levy, put on, add
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  • 1A blow with the palm of the hand or a flat object.

    ‘he gave her a slap across her cheek’
    • ‘I put a hand up to his face, and he stepped backwards, obviously expecting a slap, but I stroked his cheek.’
    • ‘I thought of the slap on my cheek from the previous day, and was not surprised when I found a bruise had developed there.’
    • ‘He hit the steering wheel with an angry slap of his palm.’
    • ‘Delilah instinctively gives her mother a quick slap across the cheek.’
    • ‘And when the two women finally trade physical blows, it descends into succession of slaps and upper cuts.’
    • ‘I marched up to her and gave her a stinging slap on the cheek.’
    • ‘Hartnett said he was pushed by Laurence, and hit back in self-defence with a single slap with the palm of his hand.’
    • ‘It was said that what began with little slaps ended in torture and murder.’
    • ‘Tony's mother stepped forward and delivered a quick slap to his cheek.’
    • ‘This was received with a giggle and a light slap on the cheek.’
    • ‘His knocks on her door, once strong and quick, were now reduced to tired, dull slaps of his palm against the wood.’
    • ‘It wasn't a hard slap for there was barely any sound from that slap.’
    • ‘We shuffled around and tried to revive him with slaps to his cheeks, some of us using more vigor than others, until he finally got up.’
    • ‘He put enough of his wrist into it for a good slap with the flat of the blade, but it was only enough to leave a welt.’
    • ‘Yugi cried out as she received a slap on her cheek.’
    • ‘Kella continued, finally sitting down, exhausted after he gave her light slaps on both cheeks.’
    • ‘Alyssa was hitting Jen's cheeks with light slaps and shaking her.’
    • ‘A sharp slap on his right cheek brought him back to reality.’
    • ‘Her struggling and shrieking was met with deafening, stinging slaps to her cheeks, rendering her even more determined to be released from his death grip.’
    • ‘The prosecution accepted it was a slap rather than a punch and that Mr Bennett, suffered no visible injury.’
    smack, blow, thump, cuff, clout, punch, crack, thwack
    spank, rap, bang
    whack, wallop, clip, biff, swipe, bop, belt, bash, sock
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    1. 1.1A sound made or as if made by a slap.
      ‘she heard the slap of water against the harbor wall’
      • ‘A slap, like the crack of a whip, made me flinch as if Mum had slapped me instead of Dad.’
      • ‘The loudest sound you'll hear is the slap of waves against the steel hull.’
      • ‘A loud slap could be heard that seemed to echo across the trees.’
      • ‘Emily heard a sharp gasp, then the sound of shuffling feet, then several thuds and slaps as the purists complied with the request, their paws meeting the cabinets.’
      • ‘Then as I turned into the living quarters of his home, I heard the slap of water hitting the floor before my mind registered the sight before me.’
      • ‘In the distance he could hear the slap of sandaled feet, fading and hurried.’
      • ‘The slap sounded throughout the room and Janice's cheek began to turn red, but she did not cry out.’
      • ‘Gloves were banned until the 1880s, so the slap of ball into palm is the norm.’
      • ‘At night the only sounds you might hear are the slap of ripples against the piers and the white noise hum of surf on the distant reef.’
      • ‘The only sound was the slap of their bare feet on the cool marble floors, as they had left their footwear at the door.’
      • ‘He repeatedly raised and lowered the bat in to his open palm, and the slap of polished wood against flesh was far too loud to be real.’
      • ‘I'm sure you could've heard the slaps all over the pavilion.’
      • ‘The sound a piercing slap caused her to jump back, eyes scanning for the two brawling individuals.’
      • ‘The loud hiss of water and a loud slap of tile is heard as Aquila enters the shower, getting a shock from the heat of the water.’
      • ‘Hand claps, body slaps, foot stomps, and the hollow sounds of the boxes being hit built into complex and satisfying rhythmic structures.’
      • ‘She could hear the slap of Laura's flip-flops and the swish of her jeans grow steadily louder.’
      • ‘A police inspector had heard shouting, slaps and yelps through an open window and found the injured dog in bloody sheets of newspaper inside the house.’
      • ‘He slams the door behind him so you can't see what is going on, but you can hear screams and slaps echoing through the air.’
      • ‘She heard the slaps of feet and knew in an instant that it wasn't her rescuer.’
      • ‘They continued down the dark corridors, the only sound being the slap of their feet against the warm earth and their rough breathing.’


  • 1Suddenly and directly, especially with great force.

    ‘storming out of her room, she ran slap into Luke’
    • ‘What happens when improving people's quality of life runs slap bang into environmental limits?’
    • ‘It takes us slap bang into the world of three very different young women as they explore their first forays into the world of physical love.’
    1. 1.1Exactly; right.
      ‘we passed slap through the middle of an enemy armored unit’
      • ‘The only thing in favour of the Midland was that it was slap in the middle of town and a vastly more interesting building with rooms that were not meticulously square.’
      • ‘It lies eight miles in from the edge of the capital, slap under the final approach to Heathrow.’
      • ‘But Easter fell slap in the middle of the 10-month hurricane season.’
      • ‘It appears the sticky-backed number which should have been attached to Luis' shorts came loose at the start, caught the wind and landed slap across his chops.’
      straight, right, directly, squarely, dead, plumb, point-blank
      exactly, precisely
      smack, bang, slap bang
      spang, smack dab
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  • slap in the face

    • An unexpected rejection or affront.

      • ‘A big World Cup would be a slap in the face for the doubters, not to mention providing a huge boost for the chances of the Wallabies.’
      • ‘To use Memorial Day to make up for a snow day is a slap in the face to every person in Alexandria who has lost someone to the perils of war.’
      • ‘It was a slap in the face that Canada's indigenous people have not forgotten.’
      • ‘It's a slap in the face to the victims and to the families of these people.’
      • ‘That it was also a sacrilegious slap in the face to the Christian faith was little remarked upon.’
      • ‘It would be an insult to Scottish women to allow him to fight here, and it is a slap in the face over all the campaigns against domestic violence against women.’
      • ‘For every pat on the back there has been a slap in the face.’
      • ‘The loss of announcers and the lack of moves called is a slap in the face and an insult to wrestling.’
      • ‘Now they insult all the victims or off-spring with this slap in the face.’
      • ‘It's almost a slap in the face that because of this, I will potentially have to change my whole life.’
      rebuff, rejection, snub, insult, affront, put-down, humiliation, a blow to one's pride
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  • slap someone around

    • Beat or hit someone repeatedly.

      ‘The teachers knew to watch out to make sure none of the other kids got slapped around’
      ‘The people responsible need to be slapped around a little and forced to correct things’
      • ‘Just like a battered wife returning to her husband, we kept voting in the same bunch of bullies to slap us around a bit.’
      • ‘Women are freely slapped around without any resistance.’
      • ‘I don't beat my wife or slap my kid around.’
      • ‘It doesn't seem like they've been slapping him around to me.’
      • ‘He actually goes and starts slapping the kid around.’
      • ‘Once confronted, Mitch flips out on Slim, slapping her around like she was a tossed salad.’
      • ‘Go ahead, slap me around a little.’
      • ‘He doesn't slap her around, he doesn't cheat on her.’
      • ‘So we probably deserved to be slapped around a bit.’
      • ‘And Mr. district attorney there in Cobb County, you need to slap him around just a little bit.’
  • slap on the back

    • Congratulations or commendations.

      ‘they deserve a hearty slap on the back for their efforts’
      • ‘Grandpa gave him a complimentary slap on the back.’
      • ‘After getting congratulated with a slap on the back, he returns to his sister with a grin.’
      • ‘Fox has done a nice job on this transfer and deserves a hearty slap on the back.’
      • ‘What was meant to be a kick has become a slap on the back.’
      • ‘For a Cockney sparrow, Jim Howard has flown very far and high - and done it all with a laugh and a friendly slap on the back on the way.’
      • ‘The Grammys are the annual slap on the back for the American music industry.’
      • ‘Each and every one of them deserves a big slap on the back.’
      • ‘(And please give our foreign editors a slap on the back here for success in acculturation).’
      • ‘What's more, while an increase of 29% in operating cash flow deserves a hearty slap on the back, it's easier to report good quarters when the bar is lower.’
      • ‘A high-five or a slap on the back can mean everything.’
      congratulations, commendation, approbation, approval, accolades, encomiums, compliments, tributes, a pat on the back, praise, acclaim, acclamation, a round of applause
      a hand, a big hand
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  • slap someone on the back

    • Congratulate someone.

      • ‘And slapping them on the back and handing them a Medicare ‘Gold Card’ may seal the deal for oldies and their aspirational offspring.’
      • ‘People congratulated him, shaking his hand, slapping him on the back.’
      • ‘But they give you a kick in the shins and then tell you that they're slapping you on the back.’
      • ‘Now, go slap Alex on the back in congratulations while I go look at this.’
      • ‘Bruce, if you are reading this, I want to slap you on the back.’
      • ‘And all of a sudden all these people from the past are reappearing, and slapping me on the back, and I can't work out if they're completely oblivious to the agony they are causing me.’
      • ‘I simply will not tolerate this injustice on their behalf, yet do you see queues of harpies slapping me on the back and congratulating me?’
      • ‘When you are doing well there are always plenty of people around to slap you on the back but you can feel pretty lonely when you are sidelined and not involved in the action.’
      • ‘But I recognized bodies around me, slapping me on the back and congratulating me as I made my way back to my seat at the back of the room.’
  • slap on the wrist

    • A mild reprimand or punishment.

      • ‘The reprimand is a slap on the wrist; nothing, no pain, nothing.’
      • ‘Hacking into computer networks was long seen as little more than a prank, and punishment was typically a slap on the wrist.’
      • ‘But they believe in adequate punishment and their punishments are rarely as light as a slap on the wrist.’
      • ‘Yet even at their most far-fetched offerings, the band's only elicited a mere chuckle and slap on the wrist from critics.’
      • ‘Some people get a slap on the wrist; some people get fired.’
      • ‘That was all, a slap on the wrist and a lecture, and he was off the hook, as he did so often to his students.’
      • ‘Why do students think they can always break the law and be let off with just a reprimand or a slap on the wrist?’
      • ‘All you would get, apparently, would be a slap on the wrist, a telling-off but also praise for work well done.’
      • ‘But critics suggest they constitute only a slap on the wrist.’
      • ‘You know, it's not a slap on the wrist, it's very, very strict supervision for the next ten years of his life.’
      reprimand, rebuke, reproof, scolding, admonition, admonishment, reproval
      telling-off, rap over the knuckles, dressing-down
      ticking off, wigging
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Late Middle English (as a verb): probably imitative. The noun dates from the mid 17th century.