sloth

noun
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Or that the Amazonian sloths taken illegally from the jungle often die within weeks of being put in captivity. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism," 12 June 2019 Ninth-grader Ella Kinnersley's drawing of a sloth sanctuary is the Arizona winner in the Doodle for Google competition. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "You can vote to put Arizona teen's sloth art on Google's homepage," 4 June 2019 Their presence along with a diverse sloth assemblage suggests a more complex history of these organisms in Middle America. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Divers Found Giant Bear and Wolf Remains in an Underwater Cave," 2 May 2019 There was a sloth, a scary bachelorette with the same name as me (ugh) who kept stealing time away from the other ladies, and not one but three kisses. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Get to Know 'Bachelor' Contestant Caelynn Miller-Keyes," 11 Jan. 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sloth

Statistics for sloth

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sloth

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sloth

sloth

noun

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

sloth

noun
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Britannica.com: 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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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