From Middle English slitheren, alteration of slideren (“to slither, creep”), from Old English slidrian (“to slip, slide, slither”), from Proto-West Germanic *slidrōn (“to slide, slither”), from Proto-Indo-European *sleydʰ- (“to slip”), equivalent to slide + -er (frequentative suffix). Cognate with Dutch slidderen (“to slip, wriggle, slither”), German schlittern (“to slither, skid”). More at slide.
- (intransitive) To move about smoothly and from side to side.
- (intransitive) To slide
- 2003, J. Flash, An American Savage:
- I bent down and with both hands I scooped up as much of this pissshit as I could. The green and brown clump felt like Jello as it dripped down all over my clothes. It was slithering through inbetween[sic] my fingers.
The use of slither to mean sliver, which is prevalent especially in Britain (where th-fronting is becoming more and more prevalent), is considered by many to be an error, though at least one major dictionary merely labels it "informal" .