\ 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

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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 The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is officially on baby sloth watch. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 14 July 2021 Riffs on gluttony, pride and sloth would have wide windows in a disused space two blocks away. New York Times, 23 June 2021 Yet too often, the wellness movement’s treatment of idleness – which rebrands the medieval sin of sloth as a virtue – reinforces its privileges. Ingrid Nelson, The Conversation, 19 Mar. 2021 Obliging attempts to blame our sloth on the inherent class injustices of a medieval university system or the ennui induced by late-stage capitalism would be greeted with a thin smile and a final warning. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 21 June 2021 The altered angles and speeds wandering from sloth to sports car carve up hitters mentally as much as mechanically. San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 June 2021 Getting to the other side of a road is a challenge, especially for a slow-moving sloth. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 1 June 2021 This sloth is all about stealth, observation, and collecting as much sunlight as possible. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, 16 May 2021 But then again, a lot of what sounds easy to accomplish turns out to be anything but in sloth-like San Francisco. Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 May 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near sloth



sloth bear

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Statistics for sloth

Last Updated

1 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sloth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for sloth



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

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


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