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Unknown; attested from early 19th century, in the sense "to slip, slide".



slather (third-person singular simple present slathers, present participle slathering, simple past and past participle slathered) (transitive)

  1. To spread something thickly on something else; to coat well.
    I slathered jam on my toast.
  2. (often followed by with) To apply generously upon.
    I slathered my toast with jam.
  3. To squander.



slather (plural slathers)

  1. (cooking) A thick sauce or spread that is to be slathered (spread thickly) onto food.
  2. Drool (especially if abundant).
    • 1983, Edda: A Collection of Essays (Robert James Glendinning), page 177:
      [The river] Ván in SnE I 21 is mentioned as coming from the slather of the bound Fenris Wolf.
  3. (usually in the plural) A generous or abundant quantity.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Then there came a reg'lar terror of a sou'wester same as you don't get one summer in a thousand, and blowed the shanty flat and ripped about half of the weir poles out of the sand. We spent consider'ble money getting 'em reset, and then a swordfish got into the pound and tore the nets all to slathers, right in the middle of the squiteague season.
    • 1919, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Rainbow Valley, ch. 24,
      In her eyes the manse people were quite fabulously rich, and no doubt those girls had slathers of shoes and stockings.