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From Middle English slivere, sliver from Middle English sliven (to cut, cleave, split), from Old English slīfan (as in tōslīfan (to split, split up)).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈslɪv.ə(ɹ)/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈslɪv.ɚ/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪvə(ɹ)


sliver (plural slivers)

  1. A long piece cut or rent off; a sharp, slender fragment; a splinter.
    • 1972, Félix Martí-Ibáñez, The mirror of souls, and other essays[1], page 339:
      This is the tasting ritual, the lay Eucharist of cheese. The buyer squeezes the sliver of cheese between his fingers to test its consistency, sniffs it, and then tastes it as delicately as if it were the most subtle caviar.
    • 2013, J. M. Coetzee, chapter 27, in The Childhood of Jesus, Melbourne, Australia: The Text Publishing Company, page 270:
      A sliver of bone has punctured a lung, and a small surgical operation was needed to remove it (would he like to keep the bone as a memento?--it is in a phial by his bedside).
    1. (regional US) Specifically, a splinter caught under the skin.
  2. A strand, or slender roll, of cotton or other fiber in a loose, untwisted state, produced by a carding machine and ready for the roving or slubbing which precedes spinning.
  3. (fishing) Bait made of pieces of small fish. Compare kibblings.
  4. (US, New York) A narrow high-rise apartment building.
  5. A small amount of something; a drop in the bucket; a shred.



See also[edit]


sliver (third-person singular simple present slivers, present participle slivering, simple past and past participle slivered)

  1. (transitive) To cut or divide into long, thin pieces, or into very small pieces; to cut or rend lengthwise; to slit.
    to sliver wood