musical notation for a slur (senses 2 and 3)


From Middle English sloor (thin or fluid mud). Cognate with Middle Low German sluren (to trail in mud). Also related to dialectal Norwegian sløra (to be careless, to scamp, dawdle), Danish sløre (to wobble, be loose) (especially for wheels); compare Old Norse slóðra (to drag oneself along).


  • IPA(key): /slɜː(ɹ)/
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(r)
  • (file)
  • (file)


slur (plural slurs)

  1. An insult or slight.
    a racial slur
  2. (music) A set of notes that are played legato, without separate articulation.
  3. (music) The symbol indicating a legato passage, written as an arc over the slurred notes (not to be confused with a tie).
    Coordinate term: tie
  4. (obsolete) A trick or deception.
  5. In knitting machines, a device for depressing the sinkers successively by passing over them.

Derived termsEdit



slur (third-person singular simple present slurs, present participle slurring, simple past and past participle slurred)

  1. To insult or slight.
  2. To run together; to articulate poorly.
    to slur syllables;  He slurs his speech when he is drunk.
    • 2014 April 21, “Subtle effects”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8884:
      Manganism has been known about since the 19th century, when miners exposed to ores containing manganese, a silvery metal, began to totter, slur their speech and behave like someone inebriated.
  3. (music) To play legato or without separate articulation; to connect (notes) smoothly.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Busby to this entry?)
  4. To soil; to sully; to contaminate; to disgrace.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Cudworth to this entry?)
  5. To cover over; to disguise; to conceal; to pass over lightly or with little notice.
  6. To cheat, as by sliding a die; to trick.
  7. (printing, dated) To blur or double, as an impression from type; to mackle.

Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit