type of loose, light indoor footwear, late 15c., agent noun from slip (v.), the notion being of a shoe that is "slipped" onto the foot. Old English had slypescoh "slipper," literally "slip-shoe."
Entries linking to slipper
From mid-14c. with senses "lose one's footing," "slide out of place," "fall into error or fault." Sense of "pass unguarded or untaken" is from mid-15c. That of "slide, glide" is from 1520s. Transitive sense from 1510s; meaning "insert surreptitiously" is from 1680s. Related: Slipped; slipping. To slip up "make a mistake" is from 1855; to slip through the net "evade detection" is from 1902. To let (something) slip originally (1520s) was a reference to hounds on a leash; figurative use "allow to escape through carelessness" is from 1540s.
Old English sliefe (West Saxon), slefe (Mercian) "arm-covering part of a garment," probably literally "that into which the arm slips," from Proto-Germanic *slaubjon (source also of Middle Low German sloven "to dress carelessly," Old High German sloufen "to put on or off"). Related to Old English slefan, sliefan "to slip on (clothes)" and slupan "to slip, glide," from PIE root *sleubh- "to slide, slip."
Compare slipper, Old English slefescoh "slipper," slip (n.2) "woman's garment," and expression slip into "dress in." Mechanical sense is attested from 1864. Meaning "the English Channel" translates French La Manche, literally "the sleeve" (from Old French manche "a sleeve," also "a handle," from Latin manicae "long sleeves of a tunic;" see manacle (n.)).
To have something up one's sleeve is recorded from c. 1500 (large sleeves formerly doubled as pockets); to have a card (or ace) up one's sleeve in the figurative sense "have a hidden resource" is from 1863; the cheat itself is mentioned by 1840s. To wear one's heart on (one's) sleeve is from "Othello" (1604).
updated on October 12, 2013