Word curio icon

Word Curio

August 8, 2020

Word of the Day: Slapdash

1 CQ

Word of the Day : October 26, 2017

slapdash \SLAP-dash\ adjective


: done or made without careful planning : haphazard, slipshod


"Sunflower Cottage just above the weir had been taken by two female animals…. More, it was being done properly, the River Bank's housewives agreed. There was none of this casual, slapdash housekeeping that bachelor gentlemen were so apt to consider sufficient." — Kij Johnson, The River Bank: A Sequel to Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, 2017

"Much to my surprise, Gus didn't take me to task regarding my chronic gerund abuse or my slapdash approach to punctuation." — Jerry Nelson, The Farm Forum (Aberdeen, South Dakota), 11 Sept. 2017

Did You Know?

One of the first known uses of slapdash in English came in 1679 from the British poet and dramatist John Dryden, who used it as an adverb in his play The kind keeper; or Mr. Limberham: "Down I put the notes slap-dash." The Oxford English Dictionary defines this sense in part as "[w]ith, or as with, a slap and a dash," perhaps suggesting the notion of an action (such as painting) performed with quick, imprecise movements. Over 100 years later, the word acquired the adjectival sense with which we are more familiar today, describing something done in a hasty, careless, or haphazard manner.

Aired October 26, 2017

All Merriam-Webster content is available at

  • Recommended Recommended
  • History & In Progress History
  • Browse Library
  • Most Popular Library

Get Personalized Recommendations

Let us help you figure out what to learn! By taking a short interview you’ll be able to specify your learning interests and goals, so we can recommend the perfect courses and lessons to try next.

Start Interview

You don't have any lessons in your history.
Just find something that looks interesting and start learning!

500 characters max