Community Comment

A Word A Day -- slew

July 20, 2012

Word of the Day

  • slew
  • audio pronunciation
  • \SLOO\


: a large number

The school's football team hosts a slew of talented players this year.

"A slew of retirements and a changing presidential election landscape have made for some ups and downs for the two parties in this year's fight for the Senate." — From an article by Stuart Rothenberg in Roll Call, June 21, 2012


"Slew" appeared as an American colloquialism in the early 19th century. Its origins are unclear, but it is perhaps taken from the Irish "slua," a descendant of Old Irish "slúag," meaning "army," "host," or "throng." "Slew" has several homographs (words that are spelled alike but different in meaning, derivation, or pronunciation) in English. These include: "slew" as the past tense of the verb "slay"; "slew" as a spelling variant of "slough," a word which is also commonly pronounced \SLOO\ and which means "swamp," "an inlet on a river," or "a creek in a marsh or tide flat"; and the verb "slew," meaning "to turn, veer, or skid."

From Merriam-Webster Online at

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