Green’s Dictionary of Slang

slick adj.

1. (US, mainly teen) of individuals or actions, a general term of approval, clever, sharp; thus slickness n.

[US]C.A. Davis Letters of Major J. Downing (1835) 67: Of all the inventions I’ve heard on of Mr. Van Buren’s, this is about the slickest.
[US]D. Corcoran Pickings from N.O. Picayune (1847) 47: Now you be a tolerable slick lookin’ feller yourself.
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward, His Book 27: Direckly thar cum in two young Shakeresses, as putty and slick lookin gals as I ever met.
[US]People’s Vindicator (Natchitoches, LA) 23 Aug. 1/3: In that happy land / Where ‘slick’ darkeys stand.
Vicksburg Herald (MS) 20 Dec. 4/1: A Slick Duck [...] Wm. Nelson, a slick colored barber [...] is decsribed as an old bird at the [crime] business and a slick artist in his line.
[US]S. Crane George’s Mother (2001) 75: Um—well, three years is a good deal for a slick man.
[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 22: slick a. […] Nice, fine, first-rate. ‘We had a slick time at the picnic.’.
[NZ]Truth (London) 18 June 1678/3: Slang terms: [...] slap-up, slick. splendiferous, stayer, stilton, stunning, swell [etc] .
[US]John Corbin Cave Man 83: Say, you’re a slick one!
[US]S. Lewis Our Mr Wrenn (1936) 172: The cream-of-corn soup was, he went so far as to remark to the waitress, ‘simply slick’.
[US]Ade Bang! Bang! 65: ‘The slickest job I ever did,’ said Bill Dalton, gleefully.
[US]C. Sandburg People, Yes 80: They enjoy the oily slant-eyed spieler with his slick bazoo selling tickets and gabbing.
[US]P. Wylie Generation of Vipers 136: It is easier for everybody, Americans included, to say, ‘The Jews corrupted us’ [...] than it is to say what is true: we Americans have always been the slickest bunch of cheaters in the history of time, and furthermore, proud of it.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 15 Nov. 7/1: Then I discovered that B— had put in a good word for me. That’s really plenty slick - or should I say super solid?
[US]F. Brown Madball (2019) 120: It would take slick con work, a really good song and dance.
[US]Kramer & Karr Teen-Age Gangs 163: All the time my slick cousin in Brownsville calls me over to threaten his enemies.
[US](con. 1930s) R. Wright Lawd Today 182: Aw, them white bastards is slick!
[US]C. Hiaasen Tourist Season (1987) 39: He’s no street nigger. Diss boy been to school [...] Diss man, he’s slick.
[US](con. 1930s) Courtwright & Des Jarlais Addicts Who Survived 50: Some were hustlers. They would go downtown and shoplift or pickpocket. This is what you call slickness; very few would rob somebody, or actually cause bodily harm.
[US]J. Ridley Everybody Smokes in Hell 14: A homeless guy wanting to get taken to some of the slickest pads in town.
[US]G. Pelecanos Night Gardener 39: Think he slick, too. Duckin my ass.
[US]S.A. Crosby Blacktop Wasteland 95: ‘He like to play dumb, but he as slick as two eels in a bucketful of snot’.

2. (US campus) attractive (of either gender).

[UK]J. March Wild Party 35: ‘My god, Queenie; you’re looking swell!’ Quoth Queenie: ‘I’m feeling slick as hell!’.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 5: slick – physically attractive, cool (usually said by a female about a male).

In compounds

slick-ass (adj.) [-ass sfx]

smooth, sophisticated, smart; thus as n. smooth deception.

[US]D. Goines Street Players 51: You goin’ come down here and sit with this slick-ass nigger?
[US]St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 30 Sept. C001/1: Radio ads targeting black audience implore listeners ‘don’t be bamboozled by Bush’s slick ass’.
[US]Baltimore Sun (MD) 27 May T31/2: We called ourselves — Hog Maul and the Fantastic Slick-Ass Destroyer Barnyard Sharks’.
slick-boy (n.)

(US black) a confidence trickster, a cheat, a liar.

[UK]J. Mowry Six Out Seven (1994) 326: I trust your ass with my life, but there some real slick-boys cruisin this summer.
slick chick (n.) [chick n.1 (3)]

(US black) a smart, attractive young woman.

[US]Chicago Trib. Graphic Section 26 Dec. 7/1: Jive Talk [...] Smooth Girl. Slick chick. Sweet stuff. Wolf bait. Queen of hearts. P-38. Able Grable. A good deal. A doll. Smooth potato. Hot gingerbread. Pretty pigeon. 20-20 little squab.
[US]S. Lewis Kingsblood Royal (2001) 111: Belfreda is a real slick-chick.
[UK]‘Raymond Thorp’ Viper 80: Wow, there‘s a slick chick.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ ‘Dangerous’ in Tell Them Nothing (1956) 45: ‘You got eyes for her?’ ‘She’s a slick chick.’.
Idaho Free Press (Nampa, ID) 26 July 3/6: The contest to select Miss Slick Chick of 1975.
slick citizen (n.) [citizen n. (2)]

(US) an unprincipled individual.

[US]J.W. Carr in ‘Word-List From Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:v 404: slick citizen, n. An unprincipled fellow.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 211: slick citizen, an unprincipled fellow. ‘He is a slick citizen.’.
slick dick (adj.) [generic use of proper name]

1. (US) as nickname, a cunning, smooth individual.

Buffalo Morn. Exp. (NY) 9 Sept. 4/5: He is ‘Lieut.-Col. Charles Dick’ now, but politically he will always be known as [...] slick Dick.
[US]Dly Capital Jrnl (Salem, OR) 25 Dec. 5/2: ‘Slick Dick’ the escaped convict.
[US]Tennessean (Nashville, TN) 19 Jan. 6/4: ‘Slick Dick’ Peterson was a reformed pirate.
[US]Albuquerque Morn. Jrnl (NM) 11 Nov. 17/5: ‘And who was Slick Dick?’ ‘One of the cleverest young burglars [...] so skilful in method that he never needed [...] a gun or blackjack’.
[US]Bridgeport Teleg. (CT) 24 May 31/4: The man once denounced as ‘Slick Dick’ Nixon by his enemies.

2. in attrib. use of sense 1, cunning, self-promoting, ‘smooth’.

[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 92: He [...] straightens his tie like some slickdick salesman.
slick duck (n.) (also slick coot) [duck n.1 (4)]

(US) a cunning, sly person.

Vicksburg Herald (MS) 20 Dec. 4/1: A Slick Duck [...] Wm. Nelson, a slick colored barber [...] is decsribed as an old bird at the [crime] business and a slick artist in his line.
[US]Dly Commercial Herald (Vicksburg, MS) 1 Mar. 2/4: Two very ‘slick ducks’ were bagged here by the chief of police.
Montgomery Advertiser (AL) 6 Oct. 4/3: Some other slick duck will probably come along and bleed them in the same way.
[US]O. Johnson Varmint 217: There was a slick coot by the name of Chops Van Dyne, who got strapped and hit upon a scheme for decoying the shekels.
[US]Mathews Jrnl (VA) 8 Feb. 1/2: The ‘slick duck of an insurance agent’ [...] nearly defrauded several Lunenberg farmers.
[US]Freeport Jrnl-Standard (IL) 20 Oct. 4/3: She is the world’s idea of a ‘slick duck’.
[US]Dly News (NY) 26 Aug. 17/3: New York girls are slick ducks. They are taking away the easy jobs from the men.
Atlanta Constitution (GA) 19 Feb. 6/2: Many a slick duck who tries to doctor money has to do his quacking in the pen.
Town talk (Alexandria, LA) 22 Jan. 1/1: Mckeithen gave his [...] permission to help the controversial Louisiana Loan and Thrift Corp. but warned ‘they’re slick ducks’.
slick-leg (adj.)

(US prison) innocent of a crime; too clever to get caught, even though guilty.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 34: Slick Leg When person is innocent of any wrongdoing […] Also may indicate that a person was too smart to get caught.
slick-leg (v.)

(gay) to rub one’s penis against the thigh of one’s sexual partner; thus slick-legging n.

[US]A. Reiss in Cressey & Ward Delinquency, Crime, and Social Process (1969) 1003: Carnal copulation with a man involving no orifice (referred to as ‘slick-legging’ among the boys).
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 156: Leggins consists of reaching ejaculation by rubbing the cock between willing oiled or sweaty thighs [...] It is also known as rubbins, slick leggins.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Culture 11 July 2: Kray [...] should have been lifted for slicklegging with chicken.
slick shit (n.) [shit n. (3i)]

(orig. US black) any clever stratagem that gets one what is desired.

CN&R News 27 Mar. 🌐 Adaptation also invokes Casablanca and Julius and Philip Epstein, the twin brothers who were its principal screenwriters. One of the Epsteins (Julius, I think) referred to that adored classic as ‘slick shit’.

In phrases

half-slick (adj.)

(US) stupid or reckless.

[US](con. early 1950s) J. Peacock Valhalla 107: Half-Slick Willy Woechowski, the marine with the number-ten-can nose.
slick as owl shit (also slick as a biscuit, ...a button, ...a greased pig, ...a greased rope, eel, ...a piece of chalk oiled at both ends, …a ram-cat, ...a ribbon, …a school-marm’s leg, ...a smelt, ...a whistle, …cat-shit, ...shit through a goose, ...snot on a door knob, …two snakes fucking in a barrel of snot)

1. (US) very smooth(ly), very slick(ly) .

[UK]J. Heywood Play of Love in Farmer (1905) 182: A horse is a thing that hath life also [...] And straight brought to a stable, warm and fair; / Dry rubberd, and chafed from head to heel, And curried till he be slick as an eel.
[US]J.K. Paulding Westward Ho! II 181: I wish I may be shot if I didn’t lick him as slick as a whistle in less than no time.
[US]C.A. Davis Letters of Major J. Downing (1835) 170: Well now, [...] we are gettin out of that scrape as slick as a whistle.
Dover Teleg. 4 July 8/2: She [i.e a boat] screwed through the water slick as an eel.
[US]‘Jonathan Slick’ High Life in N.Y. I 198: The shoes were smashers, though they sot to my feet as slick as a biscuit. [Ibid.] 205: Music that come a streaming from the fiddles [...] as slick as a streak of chalk iled at both ends.
Dundee eve. Teleg. 30 June 4/1: The young man [...] was not half so much a rascal as his older companion, who got away ‘just as slick as a button’.
[US]Ranch & Range (Yakima, WA) 15 Mar. 15/2: He [i.e. a horse] began to improve at once, and it made him slick as a button.
[US]G.D. Chase ‘Cape Cod Dialect’ in DN II:vi 428: slick as a whistle, adv. phr. Easily and neatly. ‘He cold turn a back somerset as slick as a whistle.’.
[US]L.W. Payne Jr ‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in DN III:v 371: slick as a button, adj. phr. Very easily, adroitly. Also slick as a whistle.
[US]R.W. Brown ‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in DN III:viii 590: slick as a ribbon, adv. phr. Easily; readily. ‘He carried both of them just as slick as a ribbon.’.
Tampa Bay Times (FL) 6 Oct. 2/5: If anything gets by Judge K. Mountain it has got to go as slick and swift as a greased pig on a comet.
[US]Courier Jrnl (Louisville, KY) 4 Apr. 60/3: ‘Not by a jugful’ [...] slick as a greased pig,’ ‘slow as molasses’.
[US]W.M. Raine Cool Customer 83: ‘Always slick as a greased pig, Judge,’ he snarled.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 103: Everythin’ went as slick as a greased rope.
[US]Times (Shreveport, LA) 1 Aug. 15: [advert] 1938 Chevrolet Coupe [...] Motor thorougly gone over and is as as slick as a ribbon. A snappy little car.
Montgomery Advertiser (AL) 12 Aug. 4/5: ‘Sly as a coon,’ we said; ‘slick as an eel’.
[US]D. Dodge Bullets For The Bridegroom (1953) 80: ‘Slick as a whistle,’ Casey said cheerfully.
[US]News-Rev. (Roseburg, OR) 30 July 15/7: [advert] Oldsmobile covertible club coupe [...] slick as a button.
[UK]D. Hamilton Death of a Citizen 74: We’ve made a clean getaway, slick as a whistle.
[US](con. 1940s) M. Dibner Admiral (1968) 301: Rollo is slick as a smelt.
Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, CA) 16 May 24/6: A firm [...] was selling Reagan’s pretty face ro Californians like a can of right guard’ through [...] commercials ‘as slick as a greased pig’.
[US]S. King Stand (1990) 801: The vote’ll go through as slick as shit through a goose.
[US]N. Proffitt Gardens of Stone (1985) 69: They’re slicker’n snot on a door knob. [Ibid.] 207: The Old Man, slicker’n owl shit.
[US]D. Jenkins Life Its Ownself (1985) 44: You ain’t no slicker than two snakes fuckin’ in a barrel of snot!
[US](con. 1968) D.A. Dye Citadel (1989) 72: I managed to get away slicker than cat-shit.
Valley Falls Vindicator (KS) 24 Feb. 8/3: A film of ice over everything. City streets were as slick as a greased pig.
[US]Post-Crescent (Appleton, WI) 17 Oct. 11/2: The governor would be as slick as a greased pig if he had to answer such questions.

2. (US) attractive, good.

[US]G.A. England ‘Rural Locutions of Maine and Northern New Hampshire’ in DN IV:ii 80: slick’s a ram-cat, or greased pig, or school-marm’s leg, adj. phr. Very pleasing, successful, pretty.
slick-sleeved (adj.)

(US) in the armed forces or a police department, lacking the arm insignia denoting combat or long service.

Austin American (TX) 4 Sept. 11/1: Capt. C.E. Ellwood swore me into the United States army as a slick-sleeved private.
[US]Kansas City Star 14 June 6F/1: There is a Baptist in the line, and a Jew — captains and slick-sleeved privates.
Courier-Post (Camden, NJ) 14 Nov. 4/3: They can be distinguished among their ‘slick-sleeved’ trainee group by the patch on their sleeves.
[US]J. Wambaugh New Centurions 56: ‘Son of a bitch. Now I guess I‘ll get stuck with one of these slick-sleeved little RE-cruits.’ [...] Then he realized why the burly policeman had said ‘slick-sleeved.’ He [...] saw the rows of white service stripes on the lower sleeves of the policemen at the rear table, one stripe for each five years‘ service.
[US]Tyler Courier-Times (TX) 13 Mar. 42/1: They shed their ranks as they entered the room; slick-sleeved privates were on equal footing with [a] one-star general.
Dly Times (Salisbury, MD) 1 Aug. 5/4: Going from being a slick-sleeved private to a stripes-wearing sergeant in only five years.
[US]Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX) 27 Aug. A6/1: Slick-sleeved privates fighting for survival in Ramadi.