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(as) slick as a whistle

1. adjective Quick, smooth, skillful, or easy, as in manner or movement. My new scooter is slick as a whistle in traffic. Andrea had ice skating lessons as a kid? Well, that makes sense—she is just slick as a whistle on the ice, while I'm falling all over myself! Wow, your car is as slick as a whistle now that you put that new engine in.
2. adverb In a quick, smooth, easy manner; quickly, skillfully, and neatly. Once she got into a rhythm, she had that wall built slick as a whistle. You should hear him on the phone, convincing clients as slick as a whistle to invest huge sums of money. Good job, kids. You really got the playroom cleaned up slick as a whistle.
See also: slick, whistle

(as) slick as snot

slang Very slippery. Be careful out there—ice has made the steps slick as snot. A: "Yeah, I polished the floor this morning. Why?" B: "It's slick as snot now, that's why!" The pouring rain made the highway slick as snot.
See also: slick, snot

slick back

To brush hair to the back of the head and cause it to lie flat with water, oil, gel, or some other product. A noun or pronoun can be used between "slick" and "back." I wanted to slick my hair back for our school photos, but Mom wouldn't let me. Try slicking it back first, then style it from there.
See also: back, slick

slick chick

slang A particularly shrewd, confident, and capable woman. "Chick" is often considered somewhat condescending or derogatory. I've heard she's a real slick chick, so I have no doubt that the company is in good hands. I thought I had made a good argument, but that slick chick kept twisting my words around to suit her own narrative.
See also: chick, slick

slick down

To cause hair lie flat on the head with water, oil, gel, or some other product. A noun or pronoun can be used between "slick" and "down." I woke up with this annoying cowlick, and now I have to slick my hair down with gel. I've always liked the look of boys who slick their hair down and part it on one side.
See also: down, slick

slick up

1. To cause something, usually hair, to stand on end with water, oil, gel, or some other product. A noun or pronoun can be used between "slick" and "up." I wanted to slick my hair up into spikes for our school photos, but Mom wouldn't let me.
2. To cause something to become more sleek, attractive, stylish, or sophisticated in appearance. A noun or pronoun can be used between "slick" and "up." I hate the way studios try to slick up music these days with all these computer enhancements and polish. These sorts of movies are inherently goofy and lowbrow—why try to slick them up?
See also: slick, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*slick as a whistle

quickly and cleanly; quickly and skillfully. (*Also: as ~.) Tom took a broom and a mop and cleaned the place up as slick as a whistle. slick as a whistle, Sally pulled off the bandage.
See also: slick, whistle

slick something down

to brush or comb down hair, usually with some sort of dressing or water. He used something gooeygrease or somethingto slick his hair down. Please slick down your hair. You look a mess.
See also: down, slick

slick something up

to tidy up something or some place. I have to slick this house up a little. Please slick up this room before company gets here.
See also: slick, up
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

slick as a whistle

Very-smooth and neat; also, smoothly, quickly, easily. For example, That salesman is as slick as a whistle, or The fence post went in place slick as a whistle. The allusion in this simile, first recorded in 1830, is not totally clear, but presumably it refers either to the ease of producing a whistle or to its clear tone.
See also: slick, whistle
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.

slick back

To cause something, especially hair, to lie flat by making it moist or oily and brushing it back: He wet his hands and slicked back his hair. She slicks her curls back with gel.
See also: back, slick
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. mod. clever; glib. His talk is slick, but his action is zotz.
2. mod. excellent. That is a slick idea.
3. n. a high-quality magazine printed on slick [coated] paper. The slicks are all carrying ads for products and services that couldn’t even be mentioned a few years ago.
4. n. a racing tire. (Auto racing.) That set of wheels has slicks. I wonder why.


n. an attractive and cute girl. Tiffany is a slick-chick. I wonder if she’d go out with me.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"However, all authorities are on alert in case the slick travels near our waters."
Water supplied to the stations was from deep sea, which was free of oil slick, he said.
Then Slick found a piece of garden hose and told me to siphon some gas from his pickup into the can.
In New Delhi, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said in Parliament the slick in the Mumbai harbour had been completely controlled by the Coast Guard.
Louis Ng, executive director of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, said the oil slick has wiped out almost all the inter-tidal species at the affected beaches.
On Thursday, the slick was about 1,150sq miles, but yesterday it was said to have tripled in size.
Infoterra has been using satellite imaging data to screen offshore basins for oil slicks for over 15 years.
Scores of birds are reported to have been killed by the slick, which has affected coastal waters between Northumberland and Sunderland since Sunday.
The slick covered an area of more than two kilometres.
Gun Slick also has nylon coated steel and stainless steel rods.
In temperatures hitting 34 degrees Celsius, McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa ran for 122 laps, with his best also on slicks, 0.218secs slower than Vettel.
Anyone who spots this type of algae or who has concern that a slick is not algae but pollution, should call the Environment Agency's free 24-hour hotline 0800 80 70 60.
The eight-mile slick was reported by yachtsmen in the Menai Strait, the stretch of water which separates Anglesey from the mainland.
The Estonian authorities suspect a Liberian oil tanker of being responsible for the black oil slick which has killed at least 800 birds in the Baltic Sea, near the Estonian coast, in just a week, revealed the Estonian Prime Minister, Andrus Ansip.