lo·​ris ˈlȯr-əs How to pronounce loris (audio)
: any of several nocturnal slow-moving tailless arboreal primates (family Lorisidae): such as
: a slim-bodied primate (Loris tardigradus) of southern India and Sri Lanka
: either of two larger related primates (Nycticebus pygmaeus or N. coucang) of southeastern Asia that are heavier limbed and slower moving

Illustration of loris

Illustration of loris
  • loris a

Examples of loris in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sweat glands on the loris’ elbows secrete a toxin that, when licked, can give the primate a poisonous bite, the National Zoo said. Makiya Seminera, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 The slow loris ranges in size from half a pound (the Bornean variety) to up to four pounds (the Bengal). Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 29 July 2022 Other researchers’ observations have implicated other primates as well: In southeast Asia, the slow loris eats fermented Bertram palm nectar, while on the island of St. Kitts, green monkeys steal sips of tourists’ cocktails. K. N. Smith, Discover Magazine, 9 June 2015 Southeast Asia’s slow loris. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 25 Sep. 2018 In other words, the green monkeys and slow loris may (or may not) have unique adaptations that enable their drinking habits. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, 7 June 2019 Also doesn’t the loris in the photo look delighted about the news? Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 15 Dec. 2012 At the same time, Nekaris and her colleagues built up local pride and interest in slow lorises by teaching children about the animals and assigning each family an individual slow loris mascot. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, 2 Nov. 2020 While necrotic wounds were a regular occurrence, predation was not; since 2012, the researchers have lost just one Javan slow loris to a predator, which was a feral dog. Rachel Nuwer, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'loris.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, probably from obsolete Dutch loeris simpleton

First Known Use

1774, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of loris was in 1774

Dictionary Entries Near loris

Cite this Entry

“Loris.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loris. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


lo·​ris ˈlōr-əs How to pronounce loris (audio)
: any of several small slow-moving primates that are active at night and do not have tails

More from Merriam-Webster on loris

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!