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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.
    • 2013, J. M. Coetzee, The Childhood of Jesus. Melbourne, Australia: The Text Publishing Company. chapter 27. p. 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
    c. 1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i]:
    slips of yew,
    Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse