\ 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 Reservations — and patience, as food can be slow to arrive — are recommended. oregonlive, 1 Aug. 2022 But international legal bodies have been slow to get involved, and Ukraine has made little progress prosecuting crimes from the earlier phase of the war. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 1 Aug. 2022 But this glut of EV batteries has not yet materialized—Nissan has been making the electric Leaf since 2010—and automotive industry initiatives to recycle the lithium-ion cells bundled in EV batteries are slow to go mainstream in Europe and the U.S. Carlton Reid, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 In Africa, where 20 percent of people face hunger, progress was grindingly slow. New York Times, 1 Aug. 2022 Both were slow to get up, but after taking a short break and being looked at by the trainers, Gilmore returned to full participation in the final couple of periods of practice, including 11-on-11 work. The Indianapolis Star, 31 July 2022 Despite the momentum entering halftime, the Sun were slow to get going on offense in the second half. Lila Bromberg, Hartford Courant, 31 July 2022 And why are travelers so slow to return to what has historically been a popular destination? Lilit Marcus, CNN, 31 July 2022 Twitter, which has been slow to innovate its platform, has a worse offering for advertisers when compared to competitors like TikTok and Instagram, analysts say. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 28 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The National Weather Service warned that slow-moving showers and thunderstorms could provoke more flash flooding through Tuesday morning along waterways swollen by Sunday’s heavy rain, a dismal coda to last week’s historic floods. Bruce Schreiner And Rebecca Reynolds, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Aug. 2022 The National Weather Service warned that slow-moving showers and thunderstorms could provoke more flash flooding along waterways swollen by Sunday's heavy rain, a dismal coda to last week's historic floods. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 2 Aug. 2022 Radar indicated that up to 4 more inches (10.2 centimeters) of rain fell Sunday, and the National Weather Service warned that slow-moving showers and thunderstorms could provoke more flash flooding through Tuesday morning. Rebecca Reynolds, ajc, 1 Aug. 2022 Radar indicated that up to 4 more inches (10.2 centimeters) of rain fell Sunday, and the National Weather Service warned that slow-moving showers and thunderstorms could provoke more flash flooding through Tuesday morning. Rebecca Reynolds,, 1 Aug. 2022 This slow-moving process allows the Russian ground forces to have cover from their artillery and air-defense assets, limiting the ability of Ukrainian artillery and drones. Vikram Mittal, Forbes, 31 July 2022 WIMPs are believed to be heavy and slow-moving particles with masses between one and 1,000 times that of a proton, created in the early universe as other subatomic particles collided. Robert Lea, Popular Mechanics, 29 July 2022 The country dawdled so long at the start line that even the relatively slow-moving monkeypox took its chance to race ahead—leaving the gap more and more difficult to close. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 29 July 2022 This is a slow-moving storm system, and the National Weather Service said with the rain continuing overnight, additional flooding is possible into Friday. Catherine Garcia, The Week, 28 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The federal agency has announced a series of extraordinary actions and water cuts over the last several months to slow Lake Powell’s decline, and protecting electricity production at the dam is often cited as a primary concern. Zak Podmore, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Aug. 2022 Most recently, pharmaceutical company Roche announced in June that its amyloid targeting drug, crenezumab, failed to slow or prevent cognitive decline in people with a rare genetic mutation that causes early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Berkeley Lovelace Jr., NBC News, 2 Aug. 2022 Take this as a warning to slow down and find balance now before you’re forced to find balance later on. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Aug. 2022 The bank has already raised borrowing rates four times during this year alone in an attempt to slow down economic activity and stabilize prices, and its work is far from over. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 1 Aug. 2022 Jersey City Councilwoman Amy DeGise is accused of failing to slow or stop her car after striking the cyclist at the intersection of Forrest Street and Martin Luther King Drive last week. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 31 July 2022 Will these same lifestyle interventions be enough to slow or even reverse cognitive decline in Alzheimer's and other dementias? Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 30 July 2022 Kligerman's car struggled to slow down and collided with Ryan Ellis' No. 44 Chevrolet. Rob Peeters, The Indianapolis Star, 30 July 2022 Viruses escalate the arms race by inhibiting the signals cells used to slow or stop making proteins. John Yin, Scientific American, 29 July 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

Learn More About slow

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

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Slow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 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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