\ ˈslȯth How to pronounce sloth (audio) , ˈsläth also ˈslōth How to pronounce sloth (audio) \
plural sloths\ ˈslȯths How to pronounce sloths (audio) , ˈslȯṯẖz , ˈsläths , ˈsläṯẖz also  ˈslōths , ˈslōṯẖz \

Definition of sloth

1a : disinclination to action or labor : indolence
b : spiritual apathy and inactivity the deadly sin of sloth
2 : 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

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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 Cobwebs, after all, are a sign of sloth and neglect. Carl Nolte,, "A backyard during stay-home orders offers small, wondrous surprises," 25 Apr. 2020 As with many other conservation campaigns, the golden lion tamarin is the beloved and beautiful poster animal for the preservation of a habitat that includes many plants and less compelling animals, like sloths and frogs. Maria Magdalena Arrellaga, New York Times, "A Bridge for Tamarins," 21 Apr. 2020 Since then, the zoo has had aardvarks, sloths, meerkats, manatees and more on the show. Briana Rice,, "You have another chance to see Fiona during Cincinnati Zoo’s Home Safari Facebook Live," 7 Apr. 2020 For those a bit rusty, those sins would be: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Eric J. Lyman, Fortune, "Here’s What Happened When Reid Hoffman and Other Tech Bigwigs Went to the Vatican to Talk Morality," 26 Sep. 2019 Indianapolis Zoo features sloths and venomous snakes in two new exhibits this weekend. Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis Zoo plans expansion after acquiring portion of land from former GM site," 21 May 2019 Beginning 100,000 years ago, during the Late Pleistocene, a wave of extinctions claimed large animals throughout the world: mammoths in Eurasia, horses and giant sloths in the Americas and a bestiary of giant marsupials in Australia. Asher Elbein, New York Times, "Pablo Escobar’s Hippos Fill a Hole Left Since Ice Age Extinctions," 26 Mar. 2020 Though required quick action, Scott and Emmert operated at a sloth-like pace. Los Angeles Times, "Column: NCAA, Pac-12 were slow to do the right thing in canceling tournaments," 13 Mar. 2020 Nayara Gardens has a sloth preserve that houses over 15 of these adorable little guys. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "This Resort in Costa Rica Has a Sloth Reserve, Daily Yoga, and a Full-Service Spa," 4 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sloth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sloth

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

History and Etymology for sloth

Middle English slouthe, from slow slow

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Time Traveler for sloth

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sloth

Cite this Entry

“Sloth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for sloth


How to pronounce sloth (audio) How to pronounce sloth (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sloth

formal : the quality or state of being lazy
: a type of animal that lives in trees in South and Central America and that moves very slowly


\ ˈslȯth How to pronounce sloth (audio) , ˈslōth \

Kids Definition of sloth

1 : the quality or state of being lazy
2 : an animal of Central and South America that hangs with its back downward and moves slowly along the branches of trees on whose leaves, twigs, and fruits it feeds

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More from Merriam-Webster on sloth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sloth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sloth

Spanish Central: Translation of sloth

Nglish: Translation of sloth for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sloth for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sloth

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