\ ˈslȯth How to pronounce sloth (audio) , ˈsläth also ˈslōth How to pronounce sloth (audio) \
plural sloths\ with  ths How to pronounce sloths (audio) or  t͟hz \

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

There will also be some new animals, including a flamingo, sloth, otter, and an adorable service dog. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "These New 2019 Emojis Are Super Inclusive and Your Group Text Will Appreciate It," 6 Feb. 2019 When enjoying its evolved arboreal lifestyle, however, the sloth is a genius. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "A Look at the Inner Lives of 13 Species of Animals You Think You Know," 13 July 2018 Somebody who doesn't need to calm down: the sloth, who is literally hanging out in a tree. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "The Bachelor Season Premiere Recap: Did You Know Colton's a Virgin?," 7 Jan. 2019 The mood instantly changes—even the sloth's claws are out. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "The Bachelor Season Premiere Recap: Did You Know Colton's a Virgin?," 7 Jan. 2019 May your weekend be as magical as that of celebrated Twitter personality Brother Nature, who recently held a sloth for the first time. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "The Super Mario fandom continues to be relentlessly horny," 28 Sep. 2018 Now go forth, sloth-like, into a new world of smooth skin. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "The Anti-Aging Cheat Sheet for Really, Really Lazy People," 31 July 2018 These sloths would be by far the largest animals known to burrow in this way—and one of the fossil burrows is more than 130 feet in length. Smithsonian, "How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Evolved," 8 May 2018 The tracks reveal that ancient humans once hunted a group of giant sloths along the shores of Lake Otero. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Over 10,000 years ago, weapons at White Sands were aimed at giant sloths," 26 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for sloth

Last Updated

23 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sloth

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sloth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on sloth

What made you want to look up sloth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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