ETYM Old Eng. slat, Old Fren. esclat a shiver, splinter, French éclat, from Old Fren. esclater to shiver, to chip, French éclater, from Old High Germ. sliezen to tear, slit, split, from slîzan to slit, German schleissen. Related to Slit, Eclat.
1. A fine-grained metamorphic rock that can be split into thin layers.
2. (Formerly) A writing tablet made of slate.
3. A list of candidates to be considered for nomination or election to public offices.
4. Thin layers of rock used for roofing; SYN. slating.
Fine-grained, usually gray metamorphic rock that splits readily into thin slabs along its cleavage planes. It is the metamorphic equivalent of shale.
Slate is highly resistant to atmospheric conditions and can be used for writing on with chalk (actually gypsum). Quarrying slate takes such skill and time that it is now seldom used for roof and sill material except in restoring historic buildings.