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musical notation for a slur (sense 5 and sense 6)


  • IPA(key): /slɜː(ɹ)/
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)
  • (file)
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English sloor (thin or fluid mud). Cognate with Middle Low German sluren (to trail in mud). Also related to dialectal Norwegian sløra (to be careless, to scamp, dawdle), Danish sløre (to wobble, be loose) (especially for wheels); compare Old Norse slóðra (to drag oneself along).

  • (an extremely offensive term): Influenced by various compounds of sense 1 such as racial slur, ethnic slur, etc.


slur (plural slurs)

  1. An insult or slight.
    1. An extremely offensive and socially unacceptable term targeted at a group of people (such as an ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.).
  2. A mark of dishonour; a blight or stain.
    a slur on one's reputation
  3. An act of running one's words together; poor verbal articulation.
  4. Any instance of separate things gradually blending together, such as heartbeats in some medical disorders.
  5. (music) A set of notes that are played legato, without separate articulation.
  6. (music) The symbol indicating a legato passage, written as an arc over the slurred notes (not to be confused with a tie).
    Coordinate term: tie
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]


slur (third-person singular simple present slurs, present participle slurring, simple past and past participle slurred)

  1. To insult or slight.
  2. To run together; to articulate poorly.
    to slur syllables;  He slurs his speech when he is drunk.
    • 2014 April 21, “Subtle effects”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8884:
      Manganism has been known about since the 19th century, when miners exposed to ores containing manganese, a silvery metal, began to totter, slur their speech and behave like someone inebriated.
  3. (music) To play legato or without separate articulation; to connect (notes) smoothly.
    • 1817, Thomas Busby, A Dictionary of Music, Theoretical and Practical:
      Notes , the stems of which are joined together by cross lines, as in united quavers , semiquavers , & c . or notes over the heads of which a curve is drawn, to signify that they are to be slurred
  4. To soil; to sully; to contaminate; to disgrace.
    • 1678, R[alph] Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe: The First Part; wherein All the Reason and Philosophy of Atheism is Confuted; and Its Impossibility Demonstrated, London: [] Richard Royston, [], →OCLC:
      they do not only impudently slur the gospel, according to the history and the letter, in making it no better than a romantical legend []
  5. To cover over; to disguise; to conceal; to pass over lightly or with little notice.
  6. To cheat, as by sliding a die; to trick.
  7. (printing, dated) To blur or double, as an impression from type; to mackle.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


slur (plural slurs)

  1. In knitting machines, a device for depressing the sinkers successively by passing over them. (Can we verify(+) this sense?)

Further reading[edit]