AskDefine | Define sledge

Dictionary Definition



1 a vehicle mounted on runners and pulled by horses or dogs; for transportation over snow [syn: sled, sleigh]
2 a heavy long-handled hammer used to drive stakes or wedges [syn: maul, sledgehammer]


1 transport in a sleigh
2 ride in or travel with a sledge; "the antarctic expedition sledged along the coastline"; "The children sledged all day by the lake"
3 beat with a sledgehammer [syn: sledgehammer]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /slɛʤ/

Etymology 1

Old English slecg


  1. (or sledgehammer) a heavy, long handled maul or hammer used to drive stakes, wedges, etc.
    • 1737, J. Ray, A Collection of English Words Not Generally Used, With their Significations and Original in two Alphabetical Catalogues; the one, of such as are proper to the Northern, the other, to the Southern Counties. With an Account of the preparing and refining such Metals and Minerals as are found in England.
      [based on information from Major Hill, Master of the Silver Mills, in 1662, descibing silver mining in Cardiganshire] They dig the Oar thus; One holds a little Picque, or Punch of Iron, having a long Handle of Wood which they call a Gad; Another with a great Iron Hammer, or Sledge, drives it into the Vein.
    • 2006, Tom Benford, Garage And Workshop Gear Guide''
      Sledge hammers are only used for heavy-duty persuading when working on vehicles or machinery.
a heavy, long handled maul or hammer


  1. to hit with a sledgehammer.
    • 1842, John O'Donovan, The Banquet of Dun Na N-Gedh and The Battle of Magh Rath: An Ancient and Historical Tale
      The rapid and violent exertion of smiths, mightily sledging the glowing iron masses of their furnaces.
    • 2005, Langdon W Moore, Langdon W. Moore: His Own Story of His Eventful Life
      When I inquired the reason of this wire being used in the construction of the safe, I was told it was to prevent the doors being broken by either sledging or wedging.

Etymology 2

Dutch dialect sleedse


  1. a low sled drawn by animals, typically on snow, ice or grass.
    The sledge ran far better upon the ice, I cannot say the same for the dogs.
  2. any type of sled or sleigh.
    • 1708, F. C. [possibly F. Conyers], Compleat Collier: Or, The Whole Art of Sinking, Getting, and Working, Coal-mines about Sunderland and New-Castle
      Aged wore out Coal-Horses, which after some time Wrought you will have, may serve turn for Sledge-Horses.
    • 1716, Myles Davies, Athenae Britannicae: Or, A Critical History of the Oxford and Cambridge Writers And Writings...Part I [the full title stretches for 70 words] reporting a passage in "Nicholas Sanders's Seditious Pamphlet" De Schismate Anglicano, &c (1585)
      Ty'd upon the Sledge, a Papist and a Protestant in front, being two very disparate and antipathetick Companions, was a very ridiculous Science of Cruelty, even worst than Death it self (says he).
    • 2006, Richard Higgins, Peter Brukner, Bryan English (editors), Essential Sports Medicine
      There are also Winter Paralympic Games with Alpine and Nordic events, as well as sledge hockey - a form of ice hockey using a seated sledge.
    • 2006, Pete Draper, Deconstructing the Elements With 3ds Max: Create Natural Fire, Earth, Air and Water Without Plug-Ins
      For anyone who can recall their schooldays, when you used to get snow every winter, flying down hills on a polythene bag the thickness of an atom, and a lovely old sledge your Grandpa made for you (the only Christmas it DIDN'T snow),...
sleigh or sled
See also


  1. to drag or draw a sledge.
    • 1860, Sherard Osborn, The career, last voyage and fate of ... Sir John Franklin
      It should be remembered, that these explorations were nearly all made by our seamen and officers on foot, dragging sledges, on which were piled tents, provision, fuel for cooking, and raiment. This sledging was brought to perfection by Captain M'Clintock.
    • 2004, Andy Selters, Ways to the Sky: A Historical Guide to North American Mountaineering
      Sledging en route to Mt. Logan on the 1925 first ascent. [caption to photo of four men dragging a sledge]
  2. to ride, travel with or transport in a sledge.
    • 1811, Maria Edgeworth, Popular Tales
      He was also to initiate me in the American pastime of sleighing, or sledging.
    • 1860, John Timbs, School-days of Eminent Men: I. Sketches of the Progress of Education in England, from the Reign of King Alfred
      When "the great fen or moor" which washed the city walls on the north was frozen over, sliding, sledging, and skating were the sports of crowds.
    • 2006, Godfrey (EDT) Baldacchino, Extreme Tourism: Lessons from the World's Cold Water Islands
      Some of these may be closely associated with the day-to-day lifestyle of such communities — marine activities (fishing, wildlife viewing), mountain activities (abseiling, climbing, hunting) or winter sports (dog sledging).

Etymology 3

According to Ian Chappell, originated in Adelaide during the 1963/4 or 1964/5 Sheffield Shield season. A cricketer who swore in the presence of a woman was taken to be as subtle as a sledgehammer (meaning unsubtle) and was called “Percy” or “Sledge”, from singer Percy Sledge (whose song When a Man Loves a Woman was a hit at the time). Directing insults or obsenities at the opposition team then became known as sledging. (Reference: The Lingo: Listening to Australian English, Graham Seal, University of New South Wales Press, 1999, ISBN 086840-680-5, page 141.)


  1. (originally cricket) (originally Australian) to verbally insult or abuse an opponent in order to distract them (considered unsportsmanlike).
    • 1998, Larry Elliott, Daniel E Atkinson, The Age of Insecurity
      Batteries of fast bowlers softened batsmen up with short-pitched bowling, while fielders tried to disturb their concentration with a running commentary of insults commonly known as sledging.
    • 2004, Dhanjoo N. Ghista, Socio-Economic Democracy and the World Government: Collective Capitalism, Depovertization, Human Rights, Template for Sustainable Peace
      Then, all these...government legislators...would be able to totally concentrate on their roles and functions, without being entangled in interparty sledging and squabbles.
    • 2005, David Fraser, Cricket and the Law: The Man in White Is Always Right
      The 2000 Code of the Laws of Cricket includes new anti-sledging provisions.
Translations to be checked

Extensive Definition

A sled, sledge or sleigh is a vehicle with runners for sliding instead of wheels for rolling. It is used for transport on surfaces with low friction, usually snow or ice but any grassy surface is good when it is not too dry. In some cases round river-washed stones make a good surface for sledges. Devices to be pulled across bare ground, such as a travois, are not generally called "sleds", although skids often are.
Sleds are typically smaller and simpler than sleighs which are generally understood to be a larger vehicle designed for riding in a sitting position that is drawn by a draft animal such as a horse or oxen, though this is not always the case. The sitting connotation is clear as the English Bobsleigh is a steerable sled invented to sit upon or within. North Americans transmorphed this into Bobsled, since clearly the vehicle is not drawn by a draft animal. Both (or all four) are lightweight vehicles whereas a sledge is more usually a low, sturdy, and rough work vehicle designed for haulage of heavy loads such as cordwood, stone or ice blocks or the manifold heavy transport needs on a farm.
With only gravity as the propelling force, a sled can be used downhill as a recreational (toy) vehicle or drawn behind one trudging step by trudging step to haul a load—such as logs or children back up a slope. Modern competitive sledding has come about since the 1870s when steerable sleds were invented as a recreational prescription to combat winter boredom amongst the rich and privileged in the alpine resort town of St Moritz by British hotel guests.
Alternatively, sleds may be pulled by animals, usually horses, mules, oxen or dogs. They may also be pushed or pulled by humans (playing children, a parent pulling a child, etc.). Man-hauled sledges were the traditional means of transport on British exploring expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic regions in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Dog-teams were used by most others, such as Roald Amundsen. Today some people use kites to tow exploration sleds in such climes. The Egyptians are thought to have used sledges extensively over the sands whilst building their public works, in particular, for the transportation of taller obelisks.
A troika is a vehicle drawn by three horses, usually a sled, but it may also be a wheeled carriage.
The SR-71 Blackbird is also referred to by the nickname "sled" and its pilots are referred to as "sled drivers".
The various categories of sleds include:

External links

sledge in Chuvash: Çуна
sledge in Czech: Saně
sledge in Danish: Slæde
sledge in Pennsylvania German: Schlidde
sledge in Spanish: Trineo
sledge in Esperanto: Sledo
sledge in Persian: سورتمه
sledge in French: Traîneau
sledge in Galician: Zorra
sledge in Italian: Slitta
sledge in Hebrew: מזחלת
sledge in Dutch: Slee
sledge in Japanese: ソリ
sledge in Polish: Sanie
sledge in Portuguese: Trenó
sledge in Romanian: Sanie
sledge in Russian: Сани
sledge in Finnish: Reki
sledge in Swedish: Släpsläde
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