from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A round bullet larger than buckshot.
  • n. Informal A shot of liquor.
  • n. Informal An amount of liquid, especially liquor, that is swallowed in one gulp; a swig.
  • n. A small metal disk for use in a vending or gambling machine, especially one used illegally.
  • n. A lump of metal or glass prepared for further processing.
  • n. Printing A strip of type metal, less than type-high and thicker than a lead, used for spacing.
  • n. Printing A line of cast type in a single strip of metal.
  • n. Printing A compositor's type line of identifying marks or instructions, inserted temporarily in copy.
  • n. Physics The unit of mass that is accelerated at the rate of one foot per second per second when acted on by a force of one pound weight.
  • transitive v. Printing To add slugs to.
  • transitive v. Informal To drink rapidly or in large gulps: slugged down a can of pop.
  • n. Any of various small, snaillike, chiefly terrestrial gastropod mollusks of the genus Limax and related genera, having a slow-moving elongated body with no shell or only a flat rudimentary shell on or under the skin.
  • n. The smooth soft larva of certain insects, such as the sawfly.
  • n. A slimy mass of aggregated amoeboid cells from which the sporophore of a cellular slime mold develops.
  • n. Informal A sluggard.
  • transitive v. To strike heavily, especially with the fist or a bat.
  • n. A hard heavy blow, as with the fist or a baseball bat.
  • intransitive v. To wait for or obtain a ride to work by standing at a roadside hoping to be picked up by a driver who needs another passenger to use the HOV lanes of a highway.
  • n. A commuter who slugs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of many terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusks, having no (or only rudimentary) shell
  • n. A lazy person, a sluggard.
  • n. A bullet (projectile).
  • n. A counterfeit coin, especially one used to steal from vending machines.
  • n. A shot of a drink, usually alcoholic.
  • n. A title, name or header, a catchline, a short phrase or title to indicate the content of a newspaper or magazine story for editing use.
  • n. the Imperial (English) unit of mass that accelerates by 1 foot per second squared (1 ft/s²) when a force of one pound-force (lbf) is exerted on it.
  • n. A discrete mass of a material that moves as a unit, usually through another material.
  • n. A black screen.
  • n. A piece of type metal imprinted by a Linotype machine; also a black mark placed in the margin to indicate an error.
  • n. A stranger picked up as a passenger to enable legal use of high occupancy vehicle lanes.
  • n. The last part of a clean URL, the displayed resource name, similar to a filename.
  • v. To drink quickly; to gulp.
  • v. To down a shot.
  • v. To hit very hard, usually with the fist.
  • v. To take part in casual carpooling; to form ad hoc, informal carpools for commuting, essentially a variation of ride-share commuting and hitchhiking.
  • v. To become reduced in diameter, or changed in shape, by passing from a larger to a smaller part of the bore of the barrel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A drone; a slow, lazy fellow; a sluggard.
  • n. A hindrance; an obstruction.
  • n. Any one of numerous species of terrestrial pulmonate mollusks belonging to Limax and several related genera, in which the shell is either small and concealed in the mantle, or altogether wanting. They are closely allied to the land snails.
  • n. Any smooth, soft larva of a sawfly or moth which creeps like a mollusk.
  • n. A ship that sails slowly.
  • n. An irregularly shaped piece of metal, used as a missile for a gun.
  • n. A thick strip of metal less than type high, and as long as the width of a column or a page, -- used in spacing out pages and to separate display lines, etc.
  • intransitive v. To move slowly; to lie idle.
  • intransitive v. To become reduced in diameter, or changed in shape, by passing from a larger to a smaller part of the bore of the barrel; -- said of a bullet when fired from a gun, pistol, or other firearm.
  • transitive v. To make sluggish.
  • transitive v. To load with a slug or slugs.
  • transitive v. To strike heavily.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To be slow, dull, or inert; be lazy; lie abed: said of persons or of things.
  • To make sluggish.
  • To hinder; retard.
  • Slow; sluggish.
  • n. A slow, heavy, lazy fellow; a sluggard; a slow-moving animal.
  • n. Hence Any slow-moving thing.
  • n. A hindrance; an obstruction.
  • To strike heavily. Compare slugger.
  • To load with a slug or slugs, as a gun.
  • In gunnery, to assume the sectional shape of the bore when fired: said of a bullet slightly larger than the bore.
  • n. A terrestrial pulmonate gastropod of one of the families Limacidæ and Arionidæ and related ones, which has only a rudimentary shell, if any.
  • n. Some or any slug-like soft-bodied insect or its larva; a grub: as, the yellow-spotted willow-slug, the larva of a saw-fly, Nematus ventralis. See pear-slug, rose-slug, slug-caterpillar, slug-worm.
  • n. The trepang or sea-cucumber; any edible holothurian; a sea-slug.
  • n. A heavy or forcible blow; a hard hit.
  • n. A rather heavy piece of crude metal, frequently rounded in form.
  • n. Specifically— A bullet not regularly formed and truly spherical, such as were frequently used with smooth-bore guns or old-fashioned rifies. These were sometimes hammered, sometimes chewed into an approximately spherical form.
  • n. Hence— Any projectile of irregular shape, as one of the pieces constituting mitraille
  • n. A thick blank of typemetal made to separate lines of print and to show a line of white space; also, such a piece with a number or word, to be used temporarily as a direction or marking for any purpose, as in newspaper composing-rooms the distinctive number placed at the beginning of a compositor's “take,” to mark it as his work. Thin blanks are known as leads. All blanks thicker than one sixteenth of an inch are known as slugs, and are called by the names of their proper typebodies: as, nonpareil slugs; pica slugs
  • n. A stunted horn. Compare scur.
  • n. In mining, a loop made in a rope for convenience in descending a shallow shaft, the miner putting his leg through the loop, by which he is supported while being lowered by the man at the windlass.
  • n.
  • n. A lead of extra thickness used to widen the space between lines of type.
  • n. In mech., a name proposed by Worthington for the mass to which a gravitational unit of force must be applied to produce a foot-pound unit of acceleration; 32.2 (or g) times the mass of a standard pound.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an amount of an alcoholic drink (usually liquor) that is poured or gulped
  • n. a projectile that is fired from a gun
  • v. be idle; exist in a changeless situation
  • n. an idle slothful person
  • n. any of various terrestrial gastropods having an elongated slimy body and no external shell
  • n. a counterfeit coin
  • n. (boxing) a blow with the fist
  • n. a unit of mass equal to the mass that accelerates at 1 foot/sec/sec when acted upon by a force of 1 pound; approximately 14.5939 kilograms
  • n. a strip of type metal used for spacing
  • v. strike heavily, especially with the fist or a bat


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Perhaps from slug2 (from its shape).
Middle English slugge, sluggard, probably of Scandinavian origin.
Possibly from slug1.
Probably from slug2.



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  • I've encountered the term "slug" used to describe a code, keyword or character string that identifies an entity, property or state of being. In general, a slug is an identifier that is human-readable and descriptive, as opposed to an arbitrary identifier like a sequential integer. I have begun using the term "slug" in this manner in my own work.

    September 18, 2015

  • 'Slug' is also used in web technology, for example in wordpress. See Presumably based/derived from the usage in print: 'n. A title, name or header, a catchline, a short phrase or title to indicate the content of a newspaper or magazine story for editing use'

    January 2, 2015

  • Oh, fun. It's also a "slimy mass of aggregated amoeboid cells from which the sporophore of a cellular slime mold develops" (to quote John Wayne again).

    April 15, 2014

  • Whisky has that effect on people. Believe.

    November 30, 2007

  • Oh. It was in quotation marks so I thought you were quoting someone. It's cool anyway.

    November 30, 2007

  • Heehee. I've heard many variations on that, but never with so many whiskey slugs that the person lost count! ;-)

    November 30, 2007

  • *blush* I just made it up with a John Wayne kind of character in mind.

    November 30, 2007

  • Whoever it was doesn't know how to count.

    November 30, 2007

  • Bilby, who said that? What's that from?

    November 30, 2007

  • "I've got eight slugs in me. Six of 'em's whisky and two of 'em's lead. What was it you wanted?"

    November 30, 2007

  • Not the past participle of the verb "to slog".

    November 9, 2007

  • *wondering about slugabed*

    November 8, 2007

  • There's nothing wrong with slugs in the bed. Now, a lot of slugs, that's another thing entirely. I dare say I might lose my temper too.

    November 8, 2007

  • Funny, I think an aversion to slugs is rather normal.

    (Points for your use of queer!)

    November 8, 2007

  • But what really brought things to a head was when she put a lot of slugs in his bed. He had a queer aversion for slugs. He lost his temper completely and said that the girl had to be sent away to school.

    --Agatha Christie, 1941, Murder in Retrospect

    November 8, 2007