Slay Meaning: The Evolution of a Powerful Word

“Slay” is one of the many words that have taken on different meanings for different people in today’s world. Although the term may evoke images of knights battling dragons in medieval times, it has evolved to become a versatile word in our contemporary language. To fully understand the scope of this word, we will explore its various meanings and contexts.

Slay Meaning

What Does Slay Mean?

Slay is an interesting term that has transformed from its literal meaning to a popular slang with positive connotation. Traditionally, the term “slay” means to “kill someone violently”. However, as language evolves, the word “slay” has taken on new meanings in the world of slang.

Nowadays, “slay” is often used as an exclamation of encouragement, meaning to achieve something impressive or to succeed in something amazing. It’s a powerful way to say “you’ve done an outstanding job” or “you’ve nailed it“. This term is especially common on social media platforms like TikTok and Snapchat, but it can also be found in everyday conversations.

What Does Slay Mean? – Image

Slay Meaning Pin

Origin of Slay

Originally, the word “slay” meant “to strike, beat, strike so as to kill, or commit murder” in Old English. It was derived from the Old English word “slean,” which means “to smite, strike, or beat.” Its meaning later shifted in the late Old English period to “strike, come into forcible contact” via the notion of “to reach with a blow or missile.” This evolution caused the word to replace older words with similar meanings.

During the Roaring Twenties, the word “slay” took on a new meaning: “to make someone laugh very hard.” This usage was often expressed as “You slay me!” Interestingly, there’s some evidence that “slay” emerged as slang for “looking attractively fashionable” even earlier, in the 1800s.

However, it was in the Black, Latinx, and queer ball culture of the 1970s and 1980s that “slay” truly blossomed as a term for impressing or amusing someone greatly, as well as for looking extraordinarily fashionable or fabulous. In this context, “slaying” referred to when a person’s outfit, hair, or overall appearance impressed others due to their excellence, style, or flamboyance.

Nowadays, “slay” is a popular term in the world of fashion and popular culture, used to describe someone who is truly outstanding in their appearance or performance. We can see how this versatile word has adapted and transformed throughout history to become an essential part of our modern-day lexicon.

Related Terms to Slay

In this section, we’ll discuss some terms related to the word “slay.” The term “slay” has several meanings, such as “to kill violently, wantonly, or in great numbers,” “to make someone laugh,” “to have sex with someone,” and “to do something spectacularly well.”

When we talk about killing violently, other words that come to mind include “kill,” “murder,” “dispatch,” “fell,” “avenge,” and “slaughter.” These words signify a strong and powerful act, often associated with battle, war, or crimes.

In a lighter context, slay can mean making someone laugh. This use of the term is prevalent in comedy and has been incorporated into everyday conversations to appreciate a good joke, witty remark, or humorous gesture. Synonyms used in this context could be “crack up,” “amuse,” or “entertain.”

Another meaning of slay is to have sex with someone. This interpretation is typically used in a colloquial, informal, or slang context. It may be seen as a somewhat vulgar or explicit way of referring to sexual activity, and therefore might not be suitable in all situations.

Lastly, slay is often used to describe doing something spectacularly well. This usage is commonly seen in the realm of fashion, artistic performance, or self-confidence. When someone “slays” in these arenas, they are displaying an exceptional level of prowess, style, or mastery. Some phrases people might use to express this meaning include “Yaaas slay!” or “Slay, queen!” These terms of praise and encouragement show that someone has not only succeeded in their endeavor but has exceeded expectations with an outstanding performance.

Slay Examples in Conversations, Texting and Social Post

We’ve all seen or used the slang term “slay” in various forms of communication, such as casual conversations, text messages, and social media posts. In this section, let’s take a look at some examples of how people use “slay” in day-to-day communication.


  • Person A: “Did you see Emily’s performance last night?”
  • Person B: “Yes, she absolutely slayed that stage!”

In conversation, people often use “slay” to express admiration for someone’s performance or achievements. This could be anything, from acing an exam to excelling in a sports competition.


  • Person A: “I just nailed my job interview, feeling amazing!”
  • Person B: “Awesome! You slay, girl!”

In texting, “slay” is a common way to compliment someone on their success or to show support for their undertaking. This can be particularly effective when texting friends or loved ones as it portrays a casual, friendly tone.

Social Media Post

  • Caption: “Just hit a new personal record at the gym 💪 #slaying #fitnessgoals”

Lastly, social media posts might use “slay” in captions or comments as a way of praising oneself or others. It’s become a popular hashtag with variations such as #slayqueen and #slayallday. These hashtags typically accompany selfies, fitness progress photos, or even travel pictures that showcase achievements or memorable experiences.

As evident from these examples, “slay” is a versatile slang term that we often encounter in various types of communication. It is used as an enthusiastic form of compliment, emphasizing success and accomplishment. So, next time you come across “slay” in conversation, text, or social media, you’ll know just how to use it in a friendly and supportive way.

Slay Meanings in Different Contexts

Slay in Fashion

In the world of fashion, slaying means to look stunningly fashionable and stylish. It’s about putting together a flawless and striking outfit that not only fits well but also makes a strong statement. When we say someone is slaying in an ensemble, it means they have effortlessly achieved an attractive look and are ready to turn heads and grab attention. This expression has its roots in black, Latinx, and queer ball culture from the 1970s and 1980s, where slaying was synonymous with sporting a fabulous look.

Slay in Music and Entertainment

When it comes to music and entertainment, slaying refers to delivering an impressive and unforgettable performance. An artist who slays on stage showcases their unmatched talent, both vocally and in their stage presence. This term isn’t exclusive to music, as it’s often used in other performance arts as well. A comedian who slays, for example, is one who can make the audience laugh uncontrollably. Similarly, in dance and acting, slaying implies captivating the audience with an extraordinary performance.

Slay in Business

In the world of business, slaying can refer to achieving remarkable success. Companies or individuals who excel in their niche or generate significant profits are often said to be “slaying” the competition. When working on a project, if our team manages to outperform others or exceed expectations, we could say that we’ve “slayed” that project. Slaying in this context symbolizes outstanding performance and a competitive spirit.

Slay in Personal Achievements

When it comes to personal achievements, slaying embodies the idea of conquering goals or challenges. Whether it’s acing an exam, completing a marathon, or mastering a new skill, we can say that we “slayed” those accomplishments when we excel at them. In this context, slaying is all about overcoming obstacles and realizing our true potential.

Slay in Social Media

Slaying has taken on a life of its own in the realm of social media. On platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, to “slay” often means to look exceptionally attractive or fashionable. Posting a stunning selfie or showcasing our impeccable style could lead to comments like “You’re slaying!” In social media, slaying represents not only looking our best, but also receiving positive feedback and validation from others.

Slay in Pop Culture

In pop culture, slaying can refer to a range of impressive feats. From delivering outstanding performances to showing off flawless dance moves, artists and celebrities often “slay” in their respective fields. This term can also be applied to fans who imitate and emulate their idols, creating their own versions of iconic looks or routines. Slaying in pop culture highlights the art of standing out and making an impact, just like our favorite stars.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of slay in social media?

In social media, the term “slay” often refers to someone who looks or performs exceptionally well. It is a compliment that acknowledges a person’s success or ability to impress others with their appearance, actions, or talent.

How is slay used in Instagram?

On Instagram, “slay” is most frequently used to describe someone who has posted a photo or video that looks amazing or captures attention. It can be a way to compliment someone’s outfit, makeup, or overall style, and it is usually paired with positive emojis or hashtags.

What does it mean to be a slay queen?

A “slay queen” is a term for someone, typically a woman, who consistently looks fabulous and rises above challenges in her life. They are known for their confidence, style, and ability to “slay” any situation, often garnering admiration and praise from their social media followers and peers.

Is slay a compliment in girl slang?

Yes, “slay” is often used as a compliment in girl slang to praise someone for their success, appearance, or talent. It’s an empowering term that recognizes and celebrates the person’s achievements and hard work, as well as their ability to stand out and make a lasting impression.

How is slay interpreted on TikTok?

On TikTok, “slay” holds a similar meaning as on other social media platforms. It’s used to praise someone’s creativity, performance, or appearance in a video. Users often use the term “slay” when reacting to a particularly impressive dance routine, a clever skit, or a stunning makeup transformation.

What is the meaning of slay in Tagalog?

In Tagalog, the term “slay” doesn’t have an exact translation, but the concept is understood within the culture, with similar expressions like “ginalingan” or “nagwagi,” which roughly can be translated to “you did a great job” or “you’re a winner.” These expressions capture the essence of “slay” as a way to compliment someone’s outstanding performance or appearance.