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adjective \ˈslō\

Simple Definition of slow

  • : not moving quickly : not able to move quickly

  • : not happening quickly : taking more time than is expected or wanted

  • : not operating quickly

Full Definition of slow

  1. 1a :  mentally dull :  stupid <a slow student>b :  naturally inert or sluggish

  2. 2a :  lacking in readiness, promptness, or willingnessb :  not hasty or precipitate <was slow to anger>

  3. 3a :  moving, flowing, or proceeding without speed or at less than usual speed <traffic was slow>b :  exhibiting or marked by low speed <he moved with slow deliberation>c :  not acute <a slow disease>d :  low, gentle <slow fire>

  4. 4 :  requiring a long time :  gradual <a slow recovery>

  5. 5 :  having qualities that hinder rapid progress or action <a slow track>

  6. 6a :  registering behind or below what is correct <the clock is slow>b :  less than the time indicated by another method of reckoningc :  that is behind the time at a specified time or place

  7. 7a :  lacking in life, animation, or gaiety :  boring <the first chapter is a bit slow>b :  marked by reduced activity <business was slow> <a slow news week>

slow·ish play \ˈslō-ish\ adjective
slow·ness noun

Examples of slow

  1. The buyers were slow to act, and the house was sold to someone else.

  2. He was a quiet boy who seldom spoke, and some people thought he was a little slow.

  3. Business is slow during the summer.

  4. The first few chapters are slow, but after that it gets better.

Origin of slow

Middle English, from Old English slāw; akin to Old High German slēo dull

First Known Use: before 12th century




Simple Definition of slow

  • : in a slow way or at a low speed

Full Definition of slow

  1. :  slowly

Usage Discussion of slow

Some commentators claim that careful writers avoid the adverb slow, in spite of the fact that it has had over four centuries of usage <have a continent forbearance till the speed of his rage goes slower — Shakespeare>. In actual practice, slow and slowly are not used in quite the same way. Slow is almost always used with verbs that denote movement or action, and it regularly follows the verb it modifies <beans…are best cooked long and slow — Louise Prothro>. Slowly is used before the verb <a sense of outrage, which slowly changed to shame — Paul Horgan> and with participial adjectives <a slowly dawning awareness…of the problem — American Labor>. Slowly is used after verbs where slow might also be used <burn slow or slowly> and after verbs where slow would be unidiomatic <the leadership turned slowly toward bombing as a means of striking back — David Halberstam>.

Examples of slow

  1. My computer is working slow.

  2. <you need to go slow with this experiment, or you'll make mistakes>

15th Century

First Known Use of slow

15th century




Simple Definition of slow

  • : to begin to move at a lower speed

  • : to make (something, such as a car) move at a lower speed

  • : to become slower

Full Definition of slow

  • transitive verb
    1. :  to make slow or slower :  slacken the speed of <slow a car> —often used with down or up

    2. intransitive verb
    3. :  to go or become slower <production of new cars slowed sharply>

    Examples of slow

    1. The car slowed and gradually came to a stop.

    2. The extra weight slowed the truck.


    First Known Use of slow


    Synonym Discussion of slow

    delay, retard, slow, slacken, detain mean to cause to be late or behind in movement or progress. delay implies a holding back, usually by interference, from completion or arrival <bad weather delayed our arrival>. retard suggests reduction of speed without actual stopping <language barriers retarded their progress>. slow and slacken also imply a reduction of speed, slow often suggesting deliberate intention <medication slowed the patient's heart rate>, slacken an easing up or relaxing of power or effort <on hot days runners slacken their pace>. detain implies a holding back beyond a reasonable or appointed time <unexpected business had detained her>.

    delay, procrastinate, lag, loiter, dawdle, dally mean to move or act slowly so as to fall behind. delay usually implies a putting off (as a beginning or departure) <we cannot delay any longer>. procrastinate implies blameworthy delay especially through laziness or apathy <procrastinates about making decisions>. lag implies failure to maintain a speed set by others <lagging behind in technology>. loiter and dawdle imply delay while in progress, especially in walking, but dawdle more clearly suggests an aimless wasting of time <loitered at several store windows> <children dawdling on their way home from school>. dally suggests delay through trifling or vacillation when promptness is necessary <stop dallying and get to work>.

    Seen and Heard

    What made you want to look up slow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


    February 8, 2016

    to clear from accusation or blame

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