Definition of sleaze in US English:



  • 1Immoral, sordid, and corrupt behavior or material, especially in business or politics.

    ‘political campaigns that are long on sleaze and short on substance’
    • ‘We've had 20 high-profile years of corruption, mismanagement, sleaze and notoriety.’
    • ‘And now the fall-out from that baptism of fire for the new ruling group has begun, with allegations of sleaze, bribery and illegal voting.’
    • ‘Scandals concerning sleaze and corruption have a long history within British politics and have periodically come to the attention of the public.’
    • ‘And evils like corruption, bribery, sleaze and fraud leave an impact on young minds that yearn for an avenue to let their radical thoughts out.’
    • ‘Under the previous Tory government, it became accepted that politics was all about hypocrisy and corruption, otherwise known as sleaze.’
    • ‘Sleaze or no sleaze, Labour never looked like losing.’
    • ‘Every day, it seems there is another story about corporate sleaze, fraud and robbery by senior company executives, many with connections to the administration.’
    • ‘‘Give politicians control of banks, and you have a recipe for sleaze and corruption,’ says one.’
    • ‘Stories are increasingly about scandal, sleaze and misconduct.’
    • ‘Even worse for John, his tenure as PM had been marked by treachery and sleaze.’
    • ‘But we should remember that sleaze was not about actual corruption.’
    • ‘These upper reaches of the music industry suffer a reputation for sleaze and dishonesty, but Hawley offers another perspective on the matter.’
    • ‘Despite the unresolved allegations of sleaze and corruption, it is a matter of conviction to this writer that the bulk of our politicians are decent and well-intentioned.’
    • ‘And the plans to reduce the hours for the job by 25% will make it more difficult for her successor to conduct proper inquiries into allegations of sleaze.’
    • ‘And as for sleaze or corruption, what I'd like to know is: where are they?’
    • ‘I have closely followed the debate on the pros and cons of the European Union and make no secret of my distress that we belong to this body of sleaze, corruption and its anti-democratic practices.’
    • ‘This left us a legacy of legal straitjackets which have, in their way, contributed to the climate of sleaze, greed and corruption which has lumbered us with costly tribunals.’
    • ‘O'Brien wrote of sleaze and corruption and a ‘boyish-looking’ opposition leader.’
    • ‘Long-serving governments will always gain a reputation for corruption and sleaze, and the Prime Minister of the day will always carry the can.’
    • ‘But behind the make-up was a hotbed of corruption, violence, sleaze and racism that ruled the streets of Shanghai.’
    dishonesty, dishonest dealings, unscrupulousness, deceit, deception, duplicity, double-dealing, fraud, fraudulence, misconduct, lawbreaking, crime, criminality, delinquency, wrongdoing, villainy
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    1. 1.1North American informal A sordid, corrupt, or immoral person.
      • ‘But to so-called scholars, Italians are born sleazes and Machiavelli was the King Sleazo.’
      • ‘The service is on the poor side and as I said on the weekends it is packed with classless sleazes.’
      • ‘The problem is, she's a looney, and he's a sleaze.’
      • ‘‘Wow Dave, you've never sounded like more of a sleaze in your life,’ Liz said with a laugh.’
      • ‘He is such a sleaze trying to pretend he's resigning because he's gay and had an affair.’
      • ‘When standing on the dancefloor, I could have been in any typical club around Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus… plenty of drunks, try-hards, sleazes, idiots, and easy girls all packed in.’
      • ‘Mark may be a sleaze, but he would never break his word.’
      • ‘Tom is now a sleaze, who cannot hold a steady job to save himself.’
      • ‘The guy may be a sleaze and a manipulator, but the newspaper means a lot to him.’
      • ‘In so many words, Santorum says that the bugman is a sleaze, even if he may not have been so sloppy as to violate the law.’


  • no object, with adverbial Behave in an immoral, corrupt, or sordid way.

    ‘you're the last person who has to sleaze around bars’
    • ‘And Susan's been sleazing all over Sean for the past week-'’
    • ‘They attempt to compel you to sign your hard-earned dough over to Greenpeace; they try to scam you; they try to rob you; they beg; they sleaze; they whinge.’
    • ‘She tries to sleaze on to Boyd but he doesn't play along.’
    • ‘And it's this guy who was sleazing onto me at my recent house party.’
    • ‘So I was showing her affection and everyone was thinking, what's this guy doing, sleazing all over her?’


1960s: back-formation from sleazy.