\ ˈslō How to pronounce slow (audio) \

Definition of slow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : mentally dull : stupid a slow student
b : naturally inert or sluggish
2a : lacking in readiness, promptness, or willingness
b : not hasty or precipitate was slow to anger
3a : moving, flowing, or proceeding without speed or at less than usual speed traffic was slow
b : exhibiting or marked by low speed he moved with slow deliberation
c : not acute a slow disease
d : low, gentle slow fire
4 : requiring a long time : gradual a slow recovery
5 : having qualities that hinder rapid progress or action a slow track
6a : registering behind or below what is correct the clock is slow
b : less than the time indicated by another method of reckoning
c : that is behind the time at a specified time or place
7a : lacking in life, animation, or gaiety : boring the first chapter is a bit slow
b : marked by reduced activity business was slow a slow news week



Definition of slow (Entry 2 of 3)

: slowly


slowed; slowing; slows

Definition of slow (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to make slow or slower : slacken the speed of slow a car often used with down or up

intransitive verb

: to go or become slower production of new cars slowed sharply

Other Words from slow


slowish \ ˈslō-​ish How to pronounce slow (audio) \ adjective
slowness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for slow


delay, retard, slow, slacken, detain mean to cause to be late or behind in movement or progress. delay implies a holding back, usually by interference, from completion or arrival. bad weather delayed our arrival retard suggests reduction of speed without actual stopping. language barriers retarded their progress slow and slacken also imply a reduction of speed, slow often suggesting deliberate intention medication slowed the patient's heart rate , slacken an easing up or relaxing of power or effort. on hot days runners slacken their pace detain implies a holding back beyond a reasonable or appointed time. unexpected business had detained her

Slow vs. Slowly: Usage Guide


Some commentators claim that careful writers avoid the adverb slow, in spite of the fact that it has had over four centuries of usage. have a continent forbearance till the speed of his rage goes slower — William Shakespeare In actual practice, slow and slowly are not used in quite the same way. Slow is almost always used with verbs that denote movement or action, and it regularly follows the verb it modifies. beans … are best cooked long and slow — Louise Prothro Slowly is used before the verb a sense of outrage, which slowly changed to shame — Paul Horgan and with participial adjectives. a slowly dawning awareness … of the problem Amer. Labor Slowly is used after verbs where slow might also be used burn slow or slowly and after verbs where slow would be unidiomatic. the leadership turned slowly toward bombing as a means of striking back — David Halberstam

Examples of slow in a Sentence

Adjective The buyers were slow to act, and the house was sold to someone else. He was a quiet boy who seldom spoke, and some people thought he was a little slow. Business is slow during the summer. The first few chapters are slow, but after that it gets better. Adverb My computer is working slow. you need to go slow with this experiment, or you'll make mistakes Verb The car slowed and gradually came to a stop. The extra weight slowed the truck. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Bruner said that each workout takes 45 minutes, starting with a slow jog, then a group warmup involving push-ups, uphill sprints and squats. Cathy Kozlowicz, Journal Sentinel, 15 June 2022 Their erratic efforts to pursue other safety measures have been infrequent, and slow, and have often been rejected by the courts. Thoai D. Ngo, Scientific American, 15 June 2022 The central bank is ramping up its drive to tighten credit and slow growth with inflation having reached a four-decade high of 8.6%, spreading to more areas of the economy and showing no sign of slowing. Christopher Rugaber, ajc, 15 June 2022 Reaching up to 27 mph in our tests, this e-bike is anything but slow. Olivia Lipski, Good Housekeeping, 15 June 2022 Although the Fed doesn’t directly control consumer interest rates, its rate increases ripple through the economy and ultimately, hit businesses and consumers and slow demand and inflation. Medora Lee, USA TODAY, 15 June 2022 The last update for Internet Explorer was in 2013, meaning the legacy browser has suffered a slow demise. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 15 June 2022 In the first year of SoLa ownership, orders to correct code violations were recorded at 60 buildings, and four of those cases were referred to hearings because of the slow response. Doug Smithsenior Writer, Los Angeles Times, 14 June 2022 Another factor was the international community’s slow response. Omar Faruk And Cara Anna, Anchorage Daily News, 8 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Algal blooms require sunlight, nutrients and slow-moving water to form. Elissa Welle, Detroit Free Press, 28 May 2022 Nighttime is when a lot of people prefer to jump, because there’s less boat traffic passing underneath and therefore less chance of your crashing through the roof of a slow-moving cabin cruiser. Charles Mcgrath, The New Yorker, 27 May 2022 The defensemen can’t be expected to carry the offense, but 9 points vs. 21 underscores, in part, how the Hurricanes approached scoring as a five-man unit and how the Boston defensemen were the caboose on a slow-moving scoring train. Globe Staff,, 15 May 2022 But both antitrust lawsuits and NCAA enforcement are notoriously slow-moving. Ralph D. Russo, Chicago Tribune, 10 May 2022 The whisper-quiet, slow-moving conveyor system operates constantly, sifting the clumping litter of your choice to remove the waste, completing a full rotation each hour. Lynn Redmile, Good Housekeeping, 9 May 2022 But there’s a slow-moving campaign to change that — not by diminishing trolleys but by improving bus service and the coordination between the two. Michael Smolenscolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 May 2022 Ayton seemed a step slow all night in allowing offensive rebounds and not handling the ball well in the paint. Duane Rankin, USA TODAY, 29 Nov. 2021 Ayton seemed a step slow all night in allowing offensive rebounds and not handling the ball well in the paint. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 27 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But Skubal's departure didn't slow down the Rangers' offense. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 18 June 2022 The Alzheimer's drug crenezumab did not slow or prevent cognitive decline in a long-running study of Colombian families who carried a genetic mutation that put them at near certain risk to develop the mind-robbing disease. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, 16 June 2022 The economy, however, could slow relatively quickly. New York Times, 16 June 2022 The Fed’s goal of lowering inflation comes with a major risk: Pushing rates up could slow growth too much and too fast, leading the country into a recession. Hamza Shaban, Anchorage Daily News, 16 June 2022 That said, if high inflation persists, then rising interest rates could slow down the job market. David Westenhaver, Forbes, 16 June 2022 Apple's silicon typically performs well without a fan, but for extended heavy-duty workloads like rendering or video encoding, the Air's M1 does slow down over time to avoid overheating, while the Pro's M1 could keep running at top speed. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 14 June 2022 The intersection is a critical danger point: The Akatsiya must slow to nearly a stop to make the turn. Mac William Bishop, Rolling Stone, 12 June 2022 Global economic growth will slow before the end of 2022, and most countries should begin preparing for a recession, the World Bank said in an economic forecast released Tuesday. Grayson Quay, The Week, 8 June 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of slow


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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1557, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for slow


Middle English, from Old English slāw; akin to Old High German slēo dull

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Time Traveler for slow

Time Traveler

The first known use of slow was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near slow



slow as molasses

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Statistics for slow

Last Updated

17 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Slow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for slow


\ ˈslō How to pronounce slow (audio) \
slower; slowest

Kids Definition of slow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : moving, flowing, or going at less than the usual speed slow music Traffic was slow.
2 : taking more time than is expected or desired We had a slow start on the project.
3 : not as smart or as quick to understand as most people
4 : not active Business was slow.
5 : indicating less than is correct My watch is five minutes slow.
6 : not easily aroused or excited Grandmother is slow to anger.

Other Words from slow

slowly adverb
slowness noun


slowed; slowing

Kids Definition of slow (Entry 2 of 3)

: to go or make go less than the usual speed The car slowed around the corner. The heavy load slowed the wagon.


slower; slowest

Kids Definition of slow (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a slow way Can you talk slower?

More from Merriam-Webster on slow

Nglish: Translation of slow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of slow for Arabic Speakers


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