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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English slynge (noun), slyngen (verb), probably from Old Norse slyngja, slyngva (to hurl), from Proto-Germanic *slingwaną (to worm, twist) or compare Old English slingan (to wind, twist), from the same source. Compare German schlingen (to swing, wind, twist), Danish and Norwegian slynge), from Proto-Indo-European *slenk (to turn, twist) (compare Welsh llyngyr (worms, maggots), Lithuanian sliñkti (to crawl like a snake), Latvian slìkt (to sink)).


  • IPA(key): /ˈslɪŋ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪŋ


sling (third-person singular simple present slings, present participle slinging, simple past slung or slang, past participle slung)

  1. To throw with a circular or arcing motion.
    • 2000, Bible (World English), Judges xx. 16
      Everyone could sling stones at an hairbreadth, and not miss.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Addison to this entry?)
  2. To throw with a sling.
  3. (nautical) To pass a rope around (a cask, gun, etc.) preparatory to attaching a hoisting or lowering tackle.
  4. (slang) To sell, peddle, or distribute illicitly (e.g. drugs, sex, etc.).
    • 2008, Breaking Bad, Season 1, Episode 6:
      You may know a lot about chemistry man but you don't know jack about slinging dope.
Derived terms[edit]


A diagram of how to put on a sling (sense 2)

sling (plural slings)

  1. (weapon) An instrument for throwing stones or other missiles, consisting of a short strap with two strings fastened to its ends, or with a string fastened to one end and a light stick to the other.
    • 1786, Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons, page 43:
      The Sling is also a weapon of great antiquity, formerly in high estimation among the ancients.
  2. A kind of hanging bandage put around the neck, in which a wounded arm or hand is supported.
  3. A loop of cloth, worn around the neck, for supporting a baby or other such load.
  4. A loop of rope, or a rope or chain with hooks, for suspending a barrel, bale, or other heavy object, in hoisting or lowering.
  5. A strap attached to a firearm, for suspending it from the shoulder.
  6. (nautical, chiefly in the plural) A band of rope or iron for securing a yard to a mast.
  7. The act or motion of hurling as with a sling; a throw; figuratively, a stroke.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 9”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker [] [a]nd by Robert Boulter [] [a]nd Matthias Walker, [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      At one sling / Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son.
    • 1600, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, Scene I, line 55:
      To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them.
  8. (climbing) A loop of rope or fabric tape used for various purposes: e.g. as part of a runner, or providing extra protection when abseiling or belaying.
  9. A drink composed of a spirit (usually gin) and water sweetened.
    gin sling
    a Singapore sling
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From a shortening of spiderling.


sling (plural slings)

  1. A young or infant spider, such as one raised in captivity.

Further reading[edit]


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of slynge