\ ˈslȯth How to pronounce sloth (audio) , ˈsläth also ˈslōth How to pronounce sloth (audio) \
plural sloths\ ˈslȯths How to pronounce sloth (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

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 The kids enjoyed seeing such animals as a red kangaroo and a sloth — and the children took a camel ride. Maureen Mackey, Fox News, 10 July 2022 According to a release from the Massachusetts zoo, on June 22, Sandy the Hoffman's two-toed sloth gave birth to a healthy baby — the first baby sloth born at the zoo in its 127-year history. Kelli Bender,, 13 July 2021 The murders in the film represent the seven deadly sins as defined by Christianity: gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy, and wrath. Derek Scancarelli,, 7 July 2022 The bureaucratic sloth is a bad omen as the Covid pandemic grinds into its 32nd month. David Axe, Rolling Stone, 16 July 2022 After Christopher’s morning of virtue and Devra’s morning of sloth, the great outdoors beckoned., 22 July 2022 Or dealing with the Six Deadly Sins after sloth gets the ax. Joe Queenan, WSJ, 2 June 2022 Before this introduction, Grizzly and the newborn were resting and bonding in the zoo's maternity ward to help imitate a sloth's natural postpartum routine. Alexandra Schonfeld,, 16 May 2022 The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden had its first sloth born Sunday morning but the pup was a stillborn. Briana Rice, The Enquirer, 10 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About sloth

Time Traveler for sloth

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near sloth



sloth bear

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sloth

Last Updated

18 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sloth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for sloth


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on sloth

Nglish: Translation of sloth for Spanish Speakers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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