Definition of slick in English:



  • 1(of an action or thing) done or operating in an impressively smooth, efficient, and apparently effortless way.

    ‘a slick piece of software’
    • ‘Py's stagecraft, with its rolling trolleys, red curtains and golded frames like religious icons, is slick and efficient, but not dazzling.’
    • ‘The Foundling Hospital was, apart from anything else, an exceptionally slick operation.’
    • ‘Bolt operation is as slick and smooth as any factory rifle you're ever likely to encounter.’
    • ‘It had become a very slick operation and everyone seemed delighted.’
    • ‘It is a slick piece of work, more like a product of Madison Avenue than staid Capitol Hill.’
    • ‘The champions were a class apart in this contest, and the unfortunate Salthill had no answers to their power, their swift movement or their slick passing.’
    • ‘The Hartlepool-born youngster has been capped by England at under-18 level and is noted for his slick passing.’
    • ‘Few anime operations have developed the slick marketing skills necessary to take on the giants of U.S. entertainment.’
    • ‘It was a slick, professional operation, alright.’
    • ‘From a corporate sense, this is a slick piece of work.’
    • ‘There's not one slick piece of editing or camera work that doesn't serve the story.’
    • ‘The slick bolt operation, short bolt lift and bolt throw and smooth in-line feeding made for fast follow-up shots.’
    • ‘The five-speed manual gearbox is pretty nifty, slick and smooth to use.’
    • ‘Today's pirates are slick professional operations filling Britain's airwaves with everything from street music to extreme political messages.’
    • ‘The ergonomics of the grip are just right and the no-grip-screw installation is slick efficient and innovative.’
    • ‘Brazil's slick passing game gathered pace, helped by Turkey's defensive errors, but the score was unchanged at halftime.’
    • ‘A slick piece of indie rock, it showcases Hayes' soulful voice through a string of songs tinged with sadness yet which are ultimately uplifting.’
    • ‘With his slick passing, perfect timing and ability to off-load in the tackle, he set up two of Jauzion's three tries.’
    • ‘The game features a fairly slick damage location model, allowing you to blow the heads and limbs off zombies with well-aimed shots.’
    • ‘In times of sophisticated technological warfare, our military needs to be a highly-skilled, highly-trained and slick operation.’
    efficient, smooth, smooth-running, polished, well organized, well run, streamlined
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    1. 1.1Smooth and superficially impressive but insincere or shallow.
      ‘the brands are backed by slick advertising’
      ‘he's a slick con man’
      • ‘Yet it is never slick or glib; instead, it exudes a guileless, homespun warmth.’
      • ‘Concentrate on the content and information presentation as opposed to advertising and slick sales copy.’
      • ‘Please don't abandon that heritage in the interest of a slick format and additional advertising space.’
      • ‘Far from being slick and superficial, it is, he says, a natural empathy with the listener which wins their sympathy and support and shows the best side of the politician.’
      • ‘Don't be fooled by the slick advertising and deceptively impressive hardware and launch titles.’
      • ‘Toy sellers say scenes of desperate dads fighting over limited edition action figures hyped by slick advertising campaigns have also been uncommon this year.’
      • ‘But this effort is based on action, not slick advertising.’
      • ‘We encounter the photos like magazine advertisements, or slick campaign billboards selling women's perfume or trips to happier places than Sofia.’
      • ‘They spend big on advertising and have a slick website that lets people either choose from a range of preconfigured systems or design their own.’
      • ‘Many believe that revival comes through slick advertisements and extensive planning.’
      • ‘Cosmetic surgeons can find themselves in similar situations when they mix professional credibility with slick advertising.’
      • ‘I knew that the biotechnology industry had been pouring money into opposing the initiative with slick advertisements and tricky sound bites.’
      • ‘With enough money in the war chest, the conventional wisdom goes, populist approval can be won with slick advertising.’
      • ‘Mass amounts of this innocuous beverage flooded the market and, backed by slick advertising campaigns and the lure of good cheap wine, few could resist the bait.’
      • ‘Shoppers are being warned not to be suckered into buying computers and other IT gear just on the back of slick advertising.’
      • ‘Sarah is too smart to be taken in by the humble doorstep salesman, too cynical to fall for slick advertising patter.’
      • ‘In the bid to eliminate the estate tax, anti-repeal forces have used slick advertising, explicit falsehoods and deception.’
      • ‘We can spend our lives dallying in false advertising and slick brochures about barren land and cheap trinkets and never for a moment wince at the dishonesty of it.’
      • ‘He makes use of slick advertising, juiced-up commercial colors, and spanking-clean light.’
      glib, smooth, fluent, plausible, neat, pat, superficial
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  • 2(of skin or hair) smooth and glossy.

    ‘a dandy-looking dude with a slick black ponytail’
    • ‘He was tall with black, slick hair and brown eyes.’
    • ‘Maria soon returned with her father, a burly man with a curled black mustache and slick hair.’
    • ‘His straight slick hair shone like silver in the moonlight.’
    • ‘At supper she grinned at her stepfather, who triumphantly swept back his slick hair.’
    • ‘I wear my slick black hair in an elastic band threaded with red dice charms.’
    shiny, glossy, shining, sleek, smooth, silky, silken
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    1. 2.1(of a surface) smooth, wet, and slippery.
      ‘she tumbled back against the slick, damp wall’
      • ‘We get out and shuffle cautiously on the slick surface.’
      • ‘Dark clouds loomed over the lake, and the first drops of rain hit with fat plops on the slick surface.’
      • ‘They are not aware that the cold weather has created a slick surface in the shade of a toolbox.’
      • ‘The few other people that were there watched in confusion as he soared across the slick surface and crashed into the wall.’
      • ‘It skidded across the slick surface and fell off the other side with a sickly thunk.’
      slippery, slithery, wet, greasy, oily, icy, glassy, smooth
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  • 1An oil slick.

    • ‘When they spotted an oil/petrol slick, the area was marked.’
    • ‘Nicholls was competing in France in 2002 when the slick from the oil tanker Prestige hit the beach.’
    • ‘The slick couldn't have happened at a worst time as the ‘tourist season’ has arrived and with a dirty beach they fear losing business revenue.’
    • ‘In the last couple of days new slicks have been spotted off the northern coast of Asturias and the area has been put on high alert.’
    • ‘Vice Admiral Jamnong said that patrol boats have been relocated to patrol the area and helicopters are flying twice a day to report on the movements of the slick.’
    • ‘A Thai Navy helicopter was used to identify the extent of the oil spill and the direction that currents were carrying the slick.’
    • ‘Just as frightening, and equally lethal, is the summer equivalent - a slick of engine oil on the road and a slight drizzle on top.’
    • ‘I informed the pilot there was a large slick of engine oil down the starboard pylon.’
    • ‘On Friday, with a 50 ft crack in the hull trailing a 10-mile slick, the Greek captain was arrested.’
    • ‘‘We're monitoring the evolution of the slicks both where the tanker sank as well as around the coast of Galicia,’ he said.’
    • ‘They were covered head to toe in crude oil from a massive slick that had formed over the site of the sinking.’
    1. 1.1A small smear or patch of a glossy or wet substance, especially a cosmetic.
      ‘a slick of lip balm’
      • ‘There was an oily slick on top and far too many noodles, flabbily over - cooked.’
      • ‘The soup had the light, creamy texture of melted ice cream and left a pleasing slick of richness down the back of my throat.’
      • ‘She insists I try the sorbet made from her favourite Meyer lemons and then the vanilla panna cotta with slices of kumquat in a slick of sweet local honey.’
      • ‘Then soften the effect with a creamlike slick of olive oil and slip in a surprise bomb of pale lychee fruit, all insinuating sweetness and perfume.’
      • ‘The days of the innocent slick of lipstick are over since the newest formulations work far better.’
      • ‘If you do feel your blood pressure starting to rise, simply slap on a slick of stress-relieving peppermint oil lip gloss.’
      • ‘The sky was criss-crossed with vapour trails, and blue but for a dark slick that started from some high heather burning and had spread miles, a dirty line just above the horizon of the North York Moors.’
      • ‘Impeccably fresh sardines cooked in pancetta do not need a slick of oil seeping from a curiously flavourless salsa verde.’
      • ‘A strong, glossy slick of Serra cheese was similar to Vacherin and the marinated sea bass was sharp and fresh and ceviche-like.’
      • ‘This food comes minus the usual slicks of oil and unnatural colourings.’
      • ‘Reassuringly the leaves are dressed correctly, by being turned with the slick of creamy sauce in a big stainless steel bowl.’
      • ‘Blot the whole lip area again and top with a slick of gloss.’
      • ‘A slick of coral larvae encounters pumice (or bottles or other flotsam), and the larvae settle on it as a new home.’
  • 2A race car or bicycle tire without a tread, for use in dry weather conditions.

    • ‘The tires lacked the grip levels of the formerly used slicks, giving the machines ‘twitchy’ handling manners and making them extremely tricky and volatile to drive.’
    • ‘It's never much fun driving over snow or ice on slicks, although I have gained a lot of experience and confidence in this sort of situation.’
    • ‘He didn't have much time in the car before the race and going out on slicks in those conditions was a real test,’ reckoned Lockie.’
    • ‘This produced frantic activity on the grid as drivers decided whether to stay with wet tyres or change to slicks.’
    • ‘I went to the back of the car and looked at the slicks with great concern and said, ‘Yep, they look pretty good to me.’’
  • 3North American informal A glossy magazine.

    • ‘Although the stories are not his best work, he and his agent must have been pleased to receive the higher rates that the slicks were paying.’
    • ‘Similarly the original story appeared in a slick in 1933.’
  • 4North American informal A person who is smooth and persuasive but untrustworthy.


  • 1[with object] Make (one's hair) flat, smooth, and glossy by applying water, oil, or cream to it.

    ‘his damp hair was slicked back’
    [as adjectivein combination] ‘his slicked-down hair’
    • ‘His hair is slicked back in that obnoxious, macho way.’
    • ‘His face is scrubbed, his clothes are ironed and his hair is slicked down.’
    • ‘Then I slick my hair back and jump in the car waiting outside my apartment.’
    • ‘I felt my eyes widen as he nervously slicked his hair down.’
    • ‘The water had slicked back Jess's hair, exposing the garish black-stitched scar by her left temple.’
    • ‘His hair was slicked back with gel, too much gel.’
    • ‘His hair was slicked back, and he seemed to be busy.’
    • ‘His black greased hair was slicked back and his eyes held black orbs staring angrily at the man in front of him.’
    • ‘I slicked my hair back again, but this time a little less severely so.’
    • ‘His hair was slicked back and he was yammering away into a sleek cell phone in Italian.’
    • ‘It was the heady days of the late 1980s, the days of sharp suits, slicked back hair and red braces over striped shirts.’
    • ‘Those small boys still under any kind of parental control had pressed shorts and oil slicked hair.’
    • ‘He straightened his jacket and slicked his hair back.’
    • ‘His wavy silver hair was slicked back to better reveal his large and luminescent round blue eyes, which were at the moment centered on Katrina.’
    • ‘Her straight chin length black hair was slicked back with water, and ended at the back of her neck.’
    • ‘His hair is slicked back and he wears a golden watch.’
    • ‘To achieve this very elegant look a gel was applied to the hair and the hair was slicked as close to the head as possible.’
    • ‘He walked over to her, goofily slicking his hair back.’
    • ‘His hair was cutely slicked back; his eyes were bright and glossy.’
    • ‘His chestnut hair was slicked back, away from his face.’
    smooth, sleek, flatten
    plaster, grease, oil, gel
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    1. 1.1Cover with a film of liquid; make wet or slippery.
      ‘she woke to find her body slicked with sweat’
      [as adjectivein combination] ‘a rain-slicked road’
      • ‘Grabbing a towel, I ran the cloth over my sweat slicked skin as I jogged towards the phone.’
      • ‘His body was sweat slicked and burning when she finally came back to earth.’
      • ‘He appeared to have passed out, a thin sheen of sweat slicked all over his face.’
      • ‘Her bright red hair flew out behind her, and her pale sweat slicked skin and sea green eyes glistened in the setting sun.’
      • ‘There is butter here, lots of it, and its liquid richness coats the dry-curd feta and slicks the crêpes.’
      • ‘Sweat soon coated her forehead and slicked her arms as her skin slapped against the skin of strangers.’
      • ‘It's cold, but she guesses that's probably down more to the viscous sheen of sweat slicked across her body than to the weather itself.’
      spread, rub, daub, slap, slather, smother, plaster, cream
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  • 2North American Make someone or something smart, tidy, or stylish.

    • ‘He resisted the temptation to slick the place up.’
    • ‘If the rifle were my own I would have a gunsmith slick the trigger up a little.’
    • ‘However, I can say after purposely firing multiple consecutive shots without swabbing the bore (under test conditions) that hot water slicked the rifle up to brand new in a few short minutes.’
    • ‘The gel ran through her fingers as she slicked her hair up.’
    • ‘She slicked her hair up, did her makeup, and ran down the stairs.’


Middle English (in the senses glossy and make smooth or glossy): probably from Old English and related to Old Norse slíkr smooth; compare with sleek.