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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 and past participle slung or slang)

  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.
    • a. 1720, Joseph Addison, “Milton’s Style Imitated, in a Translation of a Story out of the Third Æneid”, in The Dramatick Works of Joseph Addison. With the Authour’s Poems, on Several Occasions:
      slings a broken rock aloft in air
  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 (often illicitly, e.g. drugs, sex, etc.).
    Synonyms: slang, flog, flip
    • 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 IX”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC:
      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. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  • Spanish: eslinga

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