A Slew of (Something): Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
August 20, 2023

The idiom "a slew of (something)" means a large number or amount of something, usually more than expected or desired.

In short:

  • "A slew of (something)" means a lot of something, often too much or more than usual.
  • It is a common and informal expression in English.
  • It can be used for both good and bad things, depending on the situation and the speaker's attitude.

What Does "A Slew of (Something)" Mean?

The expression "a slew of (something)" refers to a significant quantity or amount of something, often more than what is normal or wanted. It appeared as an American colloquialism in the early 19th century and was often used to describe many people or things. Depending on the speaker's attitude, it can be applied to good and bad situations.

Where Does "A Slew of (Something)" Come From?

The idiom "a slew of (something)" is derived from the noun "slew," which means a large quantity or number. The origin of this word is unclear, but it is possibly related to the Irish word "slua," which means an army, a host, or a crowd. The Irish word comes from the Old Irish word "slúag," which has the same meaning and is also related to the Lithuanian word "slaugyti," which means to tend or to look after.

Historical Example

"There was a regular 'slew' of people at the theatre last night."

— an excerpt from a newspaper report in 1839

10 Examples of "A Slew of (Something)" in Sentences

Here are some examples of how to use the idiom "a slew of (something)" in various sentences, demonstrating different contexts and situations:

  • Fret not. The police arrested a slew of suspects in connection with the robbery.
  • She had to buckle down and deal with a slew of emails after her vacation.
  • He won a slew of awards for his novel. Quite frankly, he deserves all those awards.
  • They faced a slew of challenges during their expedition. But they rose up and overcame it all.
  • She bought a slew of clothes during the sale. What can I say? There's no substitute for her fashion sense.
  • No diggity, he is famous. He received a slew of invitations for his birthday.
  • Yaas! They launched a slew of new products this year!
  • She applied for a slew of jobs but got no replies. That's why she decided to start a business instead.
  • No wonder he made a slew of mistakes in his test. He wasted his time surfing the net the day before.
  • I'm glad to hear that they donated a slew of books to the library.

Examples of "A Slew of (Something)" in Pop Culture

The idiom "a slew of (something)" is also frequently used in pop culture, such as movies, TV shows, books, songs, and articles.

Here are some examples of how this idiom has been used in pop culture:

  • Nick Fury mentioned the phrase in "The Avengers" (2012). He says, "And we've got a slew of cloaked quinjets surveying the atmosphere."
  • In the TV show "Friends" (1994-2004), Rachel says: "I buy new stuff to replace the old stuff, and then I end up with a slew of stuff that I don't even use!"
  • In the book "The Hunger Games" (2008) by Suzanne Collins, Katniss says: "Yeah, if you can find it and kill it and dodge the other twenty-three tributes and the other slew of dangers they've thought up for us."

Other Ways to Say "A Slew of (Something)"

The idiom "a slew of (something)" is not the only way to express a large quantity or number of something in English. Many other synonyms and alternative expressions can be used instead, depending on the context and tone of the speaker.

Here are some of them:

  • A bunch of (something)
  • A ton of (something)
  • A load of (something)
  • A heap of (something)
  • A mountain of (something)
  • A plethora of (something)
  • An abundance of (something)
  • A multitude of (something)

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "A Slew of (Something)"

Here are some common questions and answers about the idiom "a slew of (something)":

  • What does "a slew of (something)" mean?

The expression "a slew of (something)" refers to a significant quantity or amount of something, often more than what is normal or wanted.

  • What is the origin of "a slew of (something)"?

The idiom "a slew of (something)" is derived from the noun "slew," which means a large quantity or number. The origin of this word is unclear, but it is possibly related to the Irish word "slua," which means an army, a host, or a crowd.

  • What are some synonyms for "a slew of (something)"?

Some synonyms for "a slew of (something)" are a bunch of (something), a ton of (something), and a load of (something). However, these antonyms may also have different connotations or nuances, so choosing the one that best fits the context and tone of the sentence is vital.

  • Is "a slew of (something)" singular or plural?

The idiom "a slew of (something)" is singular, even though it refers to a large quantity or number of something. For example: "A slew of people was at the party." However, sometimes the idiom can be used as an adjective before a plural noun, in which case it agrees with the noun. For example: "Slew of people were at the party."

  • Is "a slew of (something)" formal or informal?

The idiom "a slew of (something)" is informal and is usually used in spoken or written language that is casual or conversational. It is inappropriate for formal or academic contexts, such as essays, reports, or speeches. For those situations, it is better to use more precise or elegant expressions, such as "a large number," "a significant amount," or "a considerable quantity."

  • Is "a slew of (something)" positive or negative?

The idiom "a slew of (something)" can be positive or negative, depending on the context and tone of the speaker. It can describe desirable and undesirable situations, such as having a lot of opportunities or problems, receiving a lot of praise or criticism, or buying many gifts or bills. The speaker's attitude and intention can be inferred from the words that follow or precede the idiom, as well as from the tone and expression of their voice.

  • How do you use "a slew of (something)" in a sentence?

To use the idiom "a slew of (something)" in a sentence, you need to follow this basic structure: subject + verb + a slew of + noun.

  • How do you pronounce "a slew of (something)"?

The idiom "a slew of (something)" is pronounced as /ə sluː ʌv ˈsʌmθɪŋ/ in phonetic transcription. The stress is on the word "slew," which rhymes with "blue," "too," and "new." The term "of" is pronounced as /ʌv/ or /əv/, depending on the speaker's accent and speed. The word "something" is pronounced as /ˈsʌmθɪŋ/, with the stress on the first syllable. You can listen to the pronunciation of this idiom here.

  • What idioms are similar to "a slew of (something)"?

Some idioms similar to "a slew of (something)" are a boatload of (something), a truckload of (something), a bucketload of (something), a stack of (something), a pile of (something), or a horde of (something). These idioms also mean a large quantity or number of something, but they may have different formality, intensity, or imagery levels.

  • What are some idioms opposite to "a slew of (something)"?

Some idioms opposite to "a slew of (something)" are a drop in the bucket, a drop in the ocean, a grain of sand, a needle in a haystack, a dime a dozen, or few and far between. These idioms mean a minimal quantity or number of something, especially compared to what is needed, expected, or desired.

Final Thoughts About "A Slew of (Something)"

The idiom "a slew of (something)" is a familiar and informal way to express a large quantity or number of something in English. It can be used for both positive and negative situations, depending on the context and tone of the speaker.

Here are some key points to remember about this idiom:

  • It means a lot of something, often too much or more than usual.
  • It comes from the noun "slew," which may have its origin in the Irish word "slua."
  • It emerged as an American colloquialism in the early 19th century.
  • It can be used as a singular noun or an adjective before a plural noun.

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