Slicing means that the data added by a subclass are discarded when an object of the subclass is passed or returned by value or from a function expecting a base class object.
Consider the following class declaration:
base& operator =(const base&);
base (const base&);
void fun( )
As base copy functions don't know anything about the derived only the base part of the derived is copied. This is commonly referred to as slicing. One reason to pass objects of classes in a hierarchy is to avoid slicing. Other reasons are to preserve polymorphic behavior and to gain efficiency.