1650s, "thin, slight, slender," from Dutch slim "bad, sly, clever," from Middle Dutch slim "bad, crooked," from Proto-Germanic *slembaz "oblique, crooked" (source also of Middle High German slimp "slanting, awry," German schlimm "bad, cunning, unwell"). In English 17c. also sometimes with a sense "sly, cunning, crafty." Related: Slimly; slimness. With obsolete extended adjectival forms Slimsy "flimsy, unsubstantial" (1845); slimikin "small and slender" (1745). Slim Jim attested from 1887 in sense of "very thin person;" from 1902 as a type of slender cigar; from 1975 as a brand of meat snack.
1808, "to scamp one's work, do carelessly or superficially," from slim (adj.). Meaning "to make slim" (a garment, etc.) is from 1862; meaning "reduce (one's) weight" is from 1930. Related: Slimmed; slimming.
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