Word of the Day: slate

Word of the Day
August 22, 2016
slate (noun, verb)
/sleɪt/ sound icon
A slate roof
Slate is a fine-grained rock that tends to split into thin plates and is used as a material for roofing (a roof is the top of a house) or, before paper was widely available, for writing on. Slate is also a shade of dark-blue gray color. Mainly in the US, slate is also a list of candidates considered for nomination. In the film industry, a slate is a board that shows all the details of a take (i.e., a small segment that is filmed). As a verb, to slate means 'to cover with slate,' as in roofing. In the US, it also means 'to write down or to set down for nomination,' or more generally, 'to schedule something.' In the UK, slate also means 'to criticize severely.'


Example sentences
The roof of my house is made of slate.
The schoolchildren were writing on their slates.
The clouds had turned the sky to slate.
Julie wasn't very happy with the candidates on the slate last year.
The workers are busy slating the roof.
The party has slated its candidates.
The latest book in the series is slated for release just before Christmas.
The critics absolutely slated the director's latest film.


Multi-word forms
clean slate: a clean record. Example; "Julie decided to move to a new town where no one knew her; that way, she would be starting with a clean slate."
Did you know?
In the UK, shops and pubs used to keep a record of a person's credit written in chalk on a slate, so that it could easily be added to, amended, or wiped off when the person paid. Because of this, in UK English, on the slate still means 'on credit,' so, for example, someone buying a drink in a pub where they are known and allowed credit, might ask the landlord or landlady (the person who owns or manages the pub) to "put it on the slate." However, the expression is not used so much now as it would have been in former times. In the US, you can say, "Put it on my tab."
Slate dates back to the first half of the 14th century and comes from the Middle French word esclate, the feminine of esclat, meaning 'a piece split off.'
Slate in other languages
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