Skip to main content

Slide vs Slip vs Glide vs Skid vs Glissade vs Slither vs Coast vs Toboggan

Slideslipglideskidglissadeslithercoasttoboggan can mean to move along easily and smoothly over or as if over a surface.

Slide usually implies accelerating motion and continuous contact with a smooth and slippery surface; it is used not only in reference to persons and to moving things (as vehicles), but also, especially in extended use, with reference to things which pass rapidly before one because of one’s own swift and easy motion or which move easily, unobtrusively, or gradually from one place or condition to another.

Slip carries a stronger implication than slide of a frictionless and unobstructed surface but a weaker suggestion of continued contact; it typically suggests involuntary rather than voluntary sliding, often definitely implying a loss of footing and a fall.

When only swift, easy motion is implied, slip heightens the emphasis upon quietness, stealth, or skillfulness. Things are said to slip that pass quickly or without notice (as from one’s grasp, one’s control, one’s memory, or one’s observation) or as a result of one’s negligence or inattention.

Glide comes closer to slide than to slip in its stress upon such continued smooth, easy, usually silent motion as is characteristic of some dances, but it may or may not imply unintermittent contact with a surface and, apart from its context, it seldom carries any suggestion of danger.

Often, like slide and, to a lesser extent, slip , glide is used in reference to things that apparently move because the observer is moving.

Skid is employed especially in regard to wheeled vehicles the tires of which on an icy, wet, or dusty road fail to grip the roadway, thereby causing the wheels to slide without rotating and the vehicle to go out of control. In extended use skid , like slip , usually implies an element of danger or recklessness or a lack of complete control or grasp.

Glissade, basically a mountaineering term implying a long slide down a snowcovered slope, carries the major implications of both slide and glide but stresses skillful technique and control.

In extended reference to things glissade tends to lose its implication of skill and differs little from slide , slip , or glide .

Slither typically implies a sliding down or along a rocky, pebbly, or other rough surface with noise and clatter or it may suggest a gliding, sliding, sometimes undulating motion suggestive of a snake’s movement.

Both coast and toboggan basically imply a downward movement (as of a sled or toboggan) on a smooth or slippery course under the influence of gravity and thereby come close to slide and glide .

But they differ in their extended use, for coast usually stresses movement in the absence of continuously applied force (as of momentum or gravity) and often suggests an easy drifting while toboggan is likely to stress a building up of momentum and a resulting wild speed in a usually uncontrollable downward movement.