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1. noun Literally, a goal scored in basketball by putting the ball straight down into the hoop with one's hand. The move isn't worth more points than a traditional basket, but it is a show of force, dominance, and skill. Because of his incredible height, Sam racked up more slam dunks than any other player in the league.
2. noun By extension, a forceful, dramatic success or accomplishment, especially one that is completed handily or easily. This conviction was a slam dunk for the district attorney's office. Their latest smartphone is yet another slam dunk for the electronics manufacturer.
3. verb Literally, to score a slam dunk in basketball. Sometimes hyphenated. You need to stop trying to slam dunk every time you're near the net. She's been slam-dunking against the other team all evening.
4. verb By extension, to achieve a forceful, dramatic success or accomplishment handily or easily, often at the expense of someone or something else. Sometimes hyphenated. The incumbent president has slam dunked his opponent in every televised debate so far. If we can slam-dunk this proposal, we'll get enough funding to see us through to the end of next year.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
1. Lit. [in basketball] a goal scored by shooting the ball down from above the rim. He was wide open and scored on an easy slam dunk.
2. Fig. an action or accomplishment that is easily done. Finishing that project with all his experience should be a slam dunk for George.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
A forceful, dramatic move, as in That indictment was a slam dunk if ever there was one. This expression is also often put as a verb, slam-dunk, meaning "make a forceful move against someone," as in This is a great chance for us to slam-dunk the opposition. The idiom comes from basketball, where it refers to a dramatic shot in which the ball is thrust into the basket from above the rim. It was transferred to other activities from about 1980 on.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. tv. & in. to force a basketball into the basket from above. (see also jam.) Wilbur slam dunked another one, raising the score from 108 to 110.
2. n. an act of making a basket as in sense 1 Another slam dunk and Wilbur ties the score again!
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
A very forceful move. This term comes from basketball, where it denotes a strong and often dramatic shot in which the player leaps up and thrusts the ball into the basket from above. Both term and technique date from the 1960s, and by the 1980s the term was being used in business, politics, and other areas, both as a noun and as a verb (to slam dunk). The Boston Globe has used it in both forms: “‘I fear they assume this election will be a slam dunk,’ Rollins said” (July 24, 1991), and “I found that very energizing. . . . There was a real opportunity to slam dunk that one” (May 5, 1992). It is well on its way to cliché status.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer