Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


It was the exotic complexion and the slightness of his build which had put me off so completely.

But as in this latter case, the superficiality and slightness of the work are deceptive.

She felt the slightness of her body and the fragileness of her bones.

But there was about him an air of slightness that was accentuated by his quick movements.

Slight in texture it may be, but slightness is not triviality.

The slightness of the canoe had betrayed what he thought was a shiver.

And she felt acutely her slightness, her girlishness, and her need of his help.

The most curious distinguishable feature was his slightness.

One was young and slender with the slightness of delicate girlhood.

She was impressed with the slightness of the thread on which our destiny hangs, and then by the inevitableness of our lives.


early 14c., "flat, smooth; hairless," probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse slettr "smooth, sleek," from Proto-Germanic *slikhtaz (cf. Old Saxon slicht; Low German slicht "smooth, plain common;" Old English -sliht "level," attested in eorðslihtes "level with the ground;" Old Frisian sliucht "smooth, slight," Middle Dutch sleht "even, plain," Old High German sleht, Gothic slaihts "smooth"), probably from a collateral form of PIE *sleig- "to smooth, glide, be muddy," from root *(s)lei- "slimy" (see slime (n.)).

Sense evolution probably is from "smooth" (c.1300), to "slim, slender; of light texture," hence "not good or strong; insubstantial, trifling, inferior, insignificant" (early 14c.). Meaning "small in amount" is from 1520s. Sense of German cognate schlecht developed from "smooth, plain, simple" to "bad, mean, base," and as it did it was replaced in the original senses by schlicht, a back-formation from schlichten "to smooth, to plane," a derivative of schlecht in the old sense [Klein].


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.