ˈslȯth How to pronounce sloth (audio)
ˈslōth How to pronounce sloth (audio)
plural sloths ˈslȯths How to pronounce sloth (audio)
 also  ˈslōths,
: disinclination to action or labor : indolence
: spiritual apathy and inactivity
the deadly sin of sloth
: any of various slow-moving arboreal edentate mammals (genera Bradypus and Choloepus) that inhabit tropical forests of South and Central America, hang from the branches back downward, and feed on leaves, shoots, and fruits compare three-toed sloth, two-toed sloth

Illustration of sloth

Illustration of sloth
  • sloth 2

Examples of sloth in a Sentence

the sins of gluttony and sloth a youth inclined more toward sloth than athletics
Recent Examples on the Web There's a folder on his computer just for photos of sad sloths. Sean Evans, Robb Report, 1 Apr. 2024 This Amazonian freshwater environment was nutrient-rich and teeming with life, home to crocodilians, turtles and fish, as well as mammals such as sloths, rodents, ungulates and primates. Mindy Weisberger, CNN, 26 Mar. 2024 The rest — a group that over the years has included lions, parrots, eagles, badgers, sloths, a capybara, a bearcat and an anteater — are usually just stopping through. Claire Fahy, New York Times, 17 Mar. 2024 For most of a sloth’s nutritional needs, a paltry diet of leaves will have to make do. Max Bennett, Discover Magazine, 15 Jan. 2024 Lovers of wildlife can see monkeys, sloths, wildcats, whales, reptiles, and sea turtles in their natural habitats. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 12 Oct. 2023 The fossilized sloth’s resting place was also unique. Max Bennett, Discover Magazine, 25 Jan. 2024 These fossils include thousands of osteoderms, bony plates in the sloth’s skin similar to the armor on an armadillo, to whom sloths are closely related. Ryan McRae, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Dec. 2023 The city may be moving at sloth speed, but Saweetie’s been working nonstop. Lakin Imani Starling, Allure, 29 Feb. 2024

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

Word History


Middle English slouthe, from slow slow

First Known Use

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of sloth was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near sloth

Cite this Entry

“Sloth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the quality or state of being lazy
: any of several slow-moving mammals of the tropical forests of Central and South America that are related to the armadillos, live in trees, and feed on leaves, shoots, and fruits

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