slight

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English slight (bad, of poor quality, unimportant, trivial, slender, slim, smooth, level), from Old English sliht (smooth, level), from Proto-Germanic *slihtaz. Cognate with Danish slet (bad, evil, poor, nasty, wrong), Dutch slecht (bad), Icelandic sléttur (even, smooth, level), German schlecht (bad) and schlicht (plain, artless, natural), Norwegian slett (even), Low German slecht (bad), Swedish slät (smooth). Related to slighten, slicht.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

slight (comparative slighter, superlative slightest)

  1. Small
    1. gentle or weak, not aggressive or powerful
      • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 2, in A Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
        Mother very rightly resented the slightest hint of condescension. She considered that the exclusiveness of Peter's circle was due not to its distinction, but to the fact that it was an inner Babylon of prodigality and whoredom, [] .
      give it a slight kick
      a slight hint of cinnamon
      a slight effort
      a slight (i.e. not convincing) argument
    2. not thorough; superficial
      make a slight examination
    3. inconsiderable; unimportant; insignificant; not severe.
      we made a slight mistake
      a slight pain
    4. (archaic or rare) not far away in space or time
      in the slight future
    Synonyms: ignorable, meaningless, negligible, tiny; see also Thesaurus:tiny, Thesaurus:insignificant
  2. of slender build
    a slight but graceful woman
    • 1822, Sir Walter Scott, Peveril of the Peak
      his own figure, which was formerly so slight
    Synonyms: lithe, svelte, willowy; see also Thesaurus:slender
  3. (regional) Even, smooth or level; still (especially said of the sea).
    A slight stone
    The sea was slight and calm
    Synonyms: flat, glassy, slick; see also Thesaurus:smooth
  4. (obsolete) Foolish; silly; weak in intellect.
    1859, Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Canto 1, lines 781-784:
    But no beast ever was so slight,
    For man, as for his god, to fight;
    They have more wit, alas! and know
    Themselves and us better than so.
    Synonyms: daft, fatuous, soft in the head; see also Thesaurus:foolish
  5. (regional, obsolete) Bad, of poor quality.
    • 1889 (first published), George Washington, Writings
      we frequently have slight Goods and sometimes old and unsaleable Articles
    Synonyms: flimsy, lousy, shoddy; see also Thesaurus:low-quality
  6. (dated) Slighting; treating with disdain.
    • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard:
      This slight way of treating both his book and his ancestors nettled little Puddock – who never himself took a liberty, and expected similar treatment – but he knew Sturk, the nature of the beast, and he only bowed grandly []
    Synonyms: contemptuous, disdainful, scornful; see also Thesaurus:disdainful

Antonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

slight (third-person singular simple present slights, present participle slighting, simple past and past participle slighted)

  1. (transitive) To treat as slight or not worthy of attention; to make light of.
    • (Can we date this quote by Cowper and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      the wretch who slights the bounty of the skies
  2. (transitive) To give lesser weight or importance to.
    • 1915, Correct English (volumes 16-17, page 182)
      Incontiguously (accent on tig; the rest of the syllables slighted) means in an incontiguous manner.
    Synonym: belittle
    Antonyms: respect, value, esteem
  3. (transitive) To treat with disdain or neglect, usually out of prejudice, hatred, or jealousy; to ignore disrespectfully.
    Synonyms: contemn, despise
    Antonyms: respect, honor
  4. (intransitive) To act negligently or carelessly. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  5. (transitive, military, of a fortification) To render no longer defensible by full or partial demolition.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Clarendon to this entry?)
  6. (transitive) To make even or level.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Hexham to this entry?)
  7. (transitive) To throw heedlessly.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

slight (plural slights)

  1. The act of slighting; a deliberate act of neglect or discourtesy.
    Synonyms: ignoring, neglect, belittlement
    Antonym: respect
    • (Can we date this quote by Benjamin Franklin and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Never use a slighting expression to her, even in jest; for slights in jest, after frequent bandyings, are apt to end in angry earnest.
    • 1997, Alanis Morissette (lyrics and music), “Uninvited”, performed by Alanis Morissette:
      But you, you're not allowed / You're uninvited / An unfortunate slight
  2. (obsolete) Sleight.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Edmund Spenser to this entry?)

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for slight in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Anagrams[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English sliht, from Proto-Germanic *slihtaz.

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

slight

  1. Level, even, smooth; having no bumps or lumps.
  2. (rare) Of little importance or relevance.
  3. (rare) Slim, narrow, skinny; of little breadth.
  4. (rare) Badly made, poorly-built, or low-quality.
Descendants[edit]
  • English: slight
  • Scots: slicht
References[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old Norse slœgð.

Noun[edit]

slight

  1. Alternative form of sleight

Adjective[edit]

slight

  1. Alternative form of sleight