Meaning of slum in English:


Pronunciation /slʌm/

See synonyms for slum

Translate slum into Spanish


  • 1A squalid and overcrowded urban street or district inhabited by very poor people.

    ‘inner-city slums’
    • ‘the area was fast becoming a slum for the destitute’
    • ‘slum areas’
    • ‘slum dwellers’
    • ‘However, there is still a large segment of the population which lives in urban slums and poor rural areas without electricity or running water.’
    • ‘The appalling social situation in Iran has been highlighted by recent reports of protest marches in working class urban areas and slum districts.’
    • ‘The plague was only finally brought under control in 1666 when the Great Fire of London burned down the areas most affected by plague - the city slums inhabited by the poor.’
    • ‘Its control of poor slum areas and inner cities resulted from the chaos that was brought about by the occupation; it was not itself the cause of the chaos.’
    • ‘The focus should be on rural areas and urban slums, where illiteracy and poor hygiene will have to be tackled.’
    • ‘In-between each of these districts are the slums, where the poor and destitute mope, hating their lives.’
    • ‘Therefore, I will ensure that urban poor living in slums will get better amenities.’
    • ‘As recent experience has shown, what it does do is increase the gap between rich and poor, pulling vast numbers of people away from the land into squalid urban slums.’
    • ‘In his later articles, Brown increasingly referred to the urban problems of slums, blighted areas and suburban sprawl.’
    • ‘It is like an inner-city slum and the street cleaning leaves a lot to be desired.’
    • ‘She ended up living and working with Hong Kong's most despised and poorest inhabitants in a slum known as the Walled City.’
    • ‘But these young people are choosing to live in the world's most destitute urban slums, among the poorest of the poor.’
    • ‘There is also a primary school at the premises run by the committee for the poor and slum dwellers in the locality.’
    • ‘In the majority world many rural people buy and sell in the urban centres as well, and increasingly are being forced to move into urban areas-often into slums or ghettos.’
    • ‘As part of the activities of the trust we have started free classes for girl students from local government schools from a nearby slum who come from poor families.’
    • ‘Begun in April 2003, it is a non-profit organisation with a mission to unleash the potential of the slum, street and orphaned children of urban India.’
    • ‘The Trust introduced on April 1 a mobile dispensary which will make rounds of slums and localities inhabited by poor sections of society to provide free medical treatment.’
    • ‘According to Richard Franceys, putting water supply on a commercial basis has meant more money to connect the very poorest people in the slums and shanty towns.’
    • ‘As well as this lack of opportunity, there seems to be so much violence in the ghettos, in the slums, the project areas, where most of the immigrants have to live.’
    • ‘As you can see, the Red Party has a lot of natural support in inner city slum areas like this.’
    1. 1.1A house or building unfit for human habitation.
      ‘he moved from a two-room slum into a local authority house’
      • ‘It is reasonable to argue that we should not be building today houses that are thermal slums; too cold in winter and too hot in summer.’
      • ‘By-law violations that turn residential buildings into slums are not the only matters the municipal courts will be dealing with.’
      • ‘Have they looked at the social consequences of building tomorrow's slums today and what provisions are being put in place to deal with these in the long term?’
      • ‘The area, just five minutes drive south from the luxury dockland apartments and gleaming office blocks in Leeds city centre, is now a mixture of decent semi-detached family houses and rundown terrace slums.’
      • ‘Three decades on these houses are slums to be demolished and the greenway, as described in your article, is a vandalised yobs' playground full of litter and burned-out cars.’
      • ‘What we are building are the slums of the future.’
      • ‘Historic houses were being labelled slums just because they were old.’
      • ‘Blunkett's conclusion was that ‘if you live in a slum in a high-rise building and you are on your own with three children, the idea of liberty and freedom means nothing’.’
      • ‘I think that we will live here for maybe 12 months and then move elsewhere leaving the house as a slum and make a start again a little further down the road.’
      • ‘It is in fact, a concrete jungle where towering high-rises, slums and resplendent Gothic buildings lie next to each other.’
      • ‘Steve told Tim it's best to avoid buying glamorous houses, and slums.’
      • ‘It made my dorm building look like a slum, that was for sure.’
      • ‘Its cities combine modern skyscrapers, suburban houses, and impoverished slums.’
      • ‘These houses are not slums - Prescott is currently paying up to £200,000 per house - in order to demolish them.’
      • ‘Many city dwellers live in slums and tenement buildings’
      • ‘But ironically the former slum houses are now sought-after properties following regeneration and the flats have become increasingly unpopular with residents.’
      • ‘Or we will end up building mansions in the midst of slums."’
      • ‘Most poor Hindu women had no inhibitions about working, whether they lived in slums or tenements.’
      • ‘Too many buses are slums on wheels - services provided by people who do not use them for people that they do not care about.’
      • ‘The best home the family of seven can afford is this wood shack in a slum.’
      shack, slum, shanty, hut, shed, cabin
      View synonyms

verbverb slums, verb slumming, verb slummed

[no object]
  • 1 informal Spend time at a lower social level than one's own through curiosity or for charitable purposes.

    • ‘he bought some second-hand clothes, and slummed among the metropolis's underprivileged’
    • ‘Kicked out of east-coast prep schools and facing the glum prospect of a military academy, Igby goes slumming in lower Manhattan, but there's a porous border between moneyed respectability and penniless Bohemia.’
    • ‘Doing that among the Madison Square Garden crowd where ritzy ladies sported rhinestone and diamanté ‘W’ pins would be like forcing the country club to go slumming on a nice summer's day.’
    • ‘But it makes me feel a bit low and dirty, as though I'd been participating in slumming or walking through a madhouse in the 18th Century to laugh at the inmates.’
    • ‘Some inmates glare at the camera, assessing the artist, wondering what she is doing slumming on their turf.’
    • ‘When I went slumming like this, I wanted to cruise the bad slums.’
    • ‘It would not do to have a Rodgers slumming in show business.’
    • ‘The New Yorker goes slumming on Avenue Q and has a great time, as everyone does.’
    • ‘To be fair to him, the former Merton Professor's not slumming; he's bought the place and moved right in.’
    • ‘You're slumming… hanging out with the charity cases, the scholarship scum.’
    • ‘Do wealthy Americans simply feel it's more acceptable to go slumming out of sight at the website rather than inside the store?’
    • ‘You said you wanted to go slumming, so I picked a place to eat in Greenwich Village.’
    • ‘Indeed, Sturges' screwball comedy Sullivan's Travels, about a playboy director who goes slumming to experience the life of the common man, was supposedly modelled on his new best friend.’
    • ‘We're not slumming, we don't look down on you and we're here to have fun, too.’
    • ‘Imagine - word gets out that the heir to the Stuckley fortune was hitting from the other side of the plate, slumming with friends of Judy, eating her caviar hot, on a dirty plate.’
    • ‘It seems like Pattaya to Thais is like New Orleans is to Americans, great place to visit and go slumming, but you really don't want to live there.’
    • ‘Vanessa ran in circles far more elevated than ours and she was always telling us that when she hung out with us she was slumming.’
    • ‘Obviously the lady was slumming, and more importantly she didn't want anyone to know about it.’
    • ‘Kate could feel speculative glances on her as she rolled down the street and thought, ‘They probably figure I'm slumming, looking for a good time.’’
    • ‘Played out against a backdrop of the infamous club, their romance develops as we meet the high life and the low life, slumming aristocrats and the fashionably rich, mingling with workers, artists, Bohemians, actresses and courtesans.’
    • ‘As I entered the premises, I was instantly engulfed in the warm glow of scores of happy yuppies, slumming aristocrats, homesick business-travelers and a contingent of restaurant critics.’
    1. 1.1slum itPut up with conditions that are less comfortable or of a lower quality than one is used to.
      ‘businessmen are having to slum it in aircraft economy class seats’
      • ‘The good news is that the cooking is better than average, and you won't be slumming it as the place is extremely comfortable.’
      • ‘It's always a pleasure when a museum slums it with a pop culture show.’
      • ‘Both films have respected older actors slumming it as bad guys.’
      • ‘When visiting eastern Europe, you could decide to forego the usual experience of slumming it out in some cheap hostel, and instead, find a friendly local in whose house you can reside.’
      • ‘Rather, he was a songwriter of rare poise slumming it in the underground because his elliptical songs were too druggy and bitter to attract the mainstream hosannas they deserved.’
      • ‘The British screen icon out-acts everyone and still comes off like a good sport while slumming it in a pea-brained movie.’
      • ‘Have we got priorities right - or are we slumming it in the name of some spurious vocationalism or management theory?’
      • ‘Critics say he is just a posh boy who enjoys slumming it.’
      • ‘Sources close to the Kennilworth Road club have suggested Valois' real motivation for slumming it was financial.’
      • ‘Livingston will be slumming it again in the first division next season.’
      • ‘Even by the unhygienic standards of most student digs, this particular house is slumming it.’
      • ‘Mel of Inveresk Street has slummed it by linking to me, and I've been itching to return the favour.’
      • ‘Where to stay: you don't want to slum it on Capri.’
      • ‘He was generous with his media time, arrived punctually in a blazer for the toss, and apparently saw fit to slum it in the same five-star hotels as his team.’
      • ‘In fact, like Lorenzo, the Tuscan aristocracy liked nothing better than to slum it when it came to gastronomy.’
      • ‘Sounds about right to me - and if it means more posh kids having to slum it at comprehensives, then good.’
      • ‘Instead of giving his character a dose of good ol’ American machismo, Brosnan comes off as a refined Englishman slumming it with a shot of American hooch.’
      • ‘While she recognizes that her decision to expand her range by appearing in so small-scale a film looks a little calculated - a big name slumming it to establish street cred - Aniston insists that more was at stake than a mere image make-over.’
      • ‘Contrary to the dalliances of the rich - who've lately been slumming it like it's 1979-there's nothing fun or ‘cool’ in wondering when you'll eat next.’
      • ‘If Malowany's been able to keep making music through recent years, it's because he's been slumming away at his day job as a delivery truck driver and funding all his projects through his own hard-earned cash.’
      • ‘Two MMC students and a cinema professor go slumming as they lend character and voice to an expressionist painting set in a conspicuously disreputable French cabaret.’


Early 19th century (originally slang, in the sense ‘room’): of unknown origin.