1. mud, mire, or ooze; slush.
  2. a deposit of ooze at the bottom of a body of water.
  3. any of various more or less mudlike deposits or mixtures.
  4. the sediment in a steam boiler or water tank.
  5. broken ice, as on the sea.
  6. a mixture of some finely powdered substance and water.
  7. sediment deposited during the treatment of sewage.
  8. Also called activated sludge. Bacteriology. sewage sediment that contains a heavy growth of microorganisms, resulting from vigorous aeration.
  9. a fine, mudlike powder produced by a mining drill.


  1. soft mud, snow, etc
  2. any deposit or sediment
  3. a surface layer of ice that has a slushy appearance
  4. (in sewage disposal) the solid constituents of sewage that precipitate during treatment and are removed for subsequent purification

“mud, mire, ooze,” 1640s, of uncertain origin, possibly a variant of Middle English slutch “mud, mire,” or a variant of slush (n.).

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