Open main menu



From Middle English slime, slyme, slim, slym, from Old English slīm, from Proto-Germanic *slīmą, from Proto-Indo-European *sley- (smooth; slick; sticky; slimy). Cognates include Danish slim, Saterland Frisian Sliem, Dutch slijm, German Schleim (mucus, slime), Latin limus (mud), Ancient Greek λίμνη (límnē, marsh).


  This entry needs audio files. If you have a microphone, please record some and upload them. (For audio required quickly, visit WT:APR.)


slime (countable and uncountable, plural slimes)

  1. Soft, moist earth or clay, having an adhesive quality; viscous mud; any substance of a dirty nature, that is moist, soft, and adhesive; bitumen; mud containing metallic ore, obtained in the preparatory dressing.
    • Shakespeare
      As it [the Nile] ebbs, the seedsman / Upon the slime and ooze scatters his grain.
  2. Any mucilaginous substance; or a mucus-like substance which exudes from the bodies of certain animals, such as snails or slugs.
  3. (informal, derogatory) A sneaky, unethical person; a slimeball.
    • 2005, G. E. Nordell, Backlot Requiem: A Rick Walker Mystery
      If this guy knows who killed Robert, the right thing to do is to tell the police. If he doesn't know, really, then he's an opportunistic slime. It's still blackmail.
  4. (figuratively, obsolete) Human flesh, seen disparagingly; mere human form.
  5. (obsolete) Jew’s slime (bitumen)


  • (any substance of a dirty nature): sludge

Derived termsEdit



slime (third-person singular simple present slimes, present participle sliming, simple past and past participle slimed)

  1. (transitive) To coat with slime.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 7, in The China Governess[1]:
      ‘Children crawled over each other like little grey worms in the gutters,’ he said. ‘The only red things about them were their buttocks and they were raw. Their faces looked as if snails had slimed on them and their mothers were like great sick beasts whose byres had never been cleared. […]’
  2. (transitive, figuratively) To besmirch or disparage.
  3. To carve (fish), removing the offal.
    • 1999, Dana Stabenow, So Sure of Death, page 20:
      If so, this job was better than sliming salmon any day.
    • 2013, William B. McCloskey, Raiders: A Novel, →ISBN:
      You and me bunked in that dorm on the hill, remember? And slimed fish underthat tin roof down there.