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From Middle English sloor (“thin or fluid mud”). Compare Old Norse slóðra ‎(to drag oneself along). Cognate with Middle Low German sluren ‎(to trail in mud). Related to dialect Norwegian sløra ‎(to be careless, to scamp, dawdle), Danish sløre ‎(to wobble, be loose) (especially for wheels).



slur ‎(plural slurs)

  1. An insult or slight.
    a racial slur
  2. (music) A set of notes that are played legato, without separate articulation.
  3. (music) The symbol indicating a legato passage, written as an arc over the slurred notes (not to be confused with a tie).
  4. (obsolete) A trick or deception.
  5. In knitting machines, a device for depressing the sinkers successively by passing over them.


Derived terms[edit]


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

  1. To insult or slight.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Tennyson to this entry?)
  2. To run together; to articulate poorly.
    to slur syllables;  He slurs his speech when he is drunk.
    • 2014 April 21, “Subtle effects”, 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.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Busby to this entry?)
  4. To soil; to sully; to contaminate; to disgrace.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Cudworth to this entry?)
  5. To cover over; to disguise; to conceal; to pass over lightly or with little notice.
    • John Dryden (1631-1700)
      With periods, points, and tropes, he slurs his crimes.
  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]