\ 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 There are three problems: There are not enough public charging stations, most public charging stations provide a too slow charge and installing new charging stations is a long and costly process. Nastasya Savina, Forbes, 12 Aug. 2022 But Ong says that although platforms have been too slow to act, a large part of the blame lies with a media ecosystem unaccustomed to covering such attacks. Wired, 10 Aug. 2022 Critics say that the government’s response to the outbreak has been too slow, that vaccines and testing are too difficult to obtain and that the administration has not done enough to help those at higher risk, including the LGBTQ community. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Aug. 2022 This tool's RPMs are a little too slow for acrylic nails. Catharine Malzahn, Good Housekeeping, 4 Aug. 2022 The governor has been too slow, cautious, and ready to accommodate groundwater agencies dominated by agricultural interests, Gomberg contends. Christopher Goffardstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 29 July 2022 There has been some criticism that this has been too slow. Abc News, ABC News, 19 July 2022 The West has been too slow, and the need to even out the artillery disparity is urgent. Jillian Kay Melchior, WSJ, 12 July 2022 The policy, longstanding but more vigorously enforced recently, has infuriated critics, including President Biden, who accuse Mr. Garland of being too slow and cautious. New York Times, 11 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Second-choice Arman broke slow, got bumped shortly after the start and finished eighth in the field of 10. Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Aug. 2022 Here, our slow-moving, ever-groaning blueprint for walking corpses was born in 1968 by Romero and co-writer John Russo. Allaire Nuss,, 12 Aug. 2022 August always starts off slow but quickly heats up as NFL preseason returns, college football starts, and the MLB postseason race escalates. Xl Media, cleveland, 10 Aug. 2022 Forrest Gump,″ is the tale of a slow-witted but mathematically gifted man who witnesses key points and figures of U.S. history, like the Vietnam War, presidents and Elvis Presley. Hilary Fox, ajc, 10 Aug. 2022 But the relentless heat of this summer — the heavy curtain that has hung over Boston, making the air thick and the going slow — is different, and has been made more likely to happen thanks to climate change, according to scientists. Sabrina Shankman,, 8 Aug. 2022 Any storms that do develop will be slow moving and feature heavy downpours. Greg Porter, Washington Post, 7 Aug. 2022 Wednesday’s vote by Republicans and Democrats stood out for the normally slow-moving and divided chamber. Ellen Knickmeyer And Lisa Mascarco, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Aug. 2022 Cornerback Alexander Myres got up slow after a hit in 7-on-7 and was examined by the trainers. The Indianapolis Star, 3 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The pandemic laid bare the gaps and disparities in the U.S. public health system, and often resulted in blowback against local officials trying to slow the coronavirus's spread. Katheryn Houghton, CNN, 15 Aug. 2022 In May, Kim Jong Un prohibited travel between cities and counties to slow the spread of the virus. Fox News, 11 Aug. 2022 Eatonville’s town government closed the pool in March 2020 as businesses, government offices and schools shut down across the nation in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. Desiree Stennett, Orlando Sentinel, 10 Aug. 2022 See-sawing prices declined as demand fell when businesses were shut to slow the spread of COVID-19. Stephen Singer, Hartford Courant, 8 Aug. 2022 Scientists don’t know how to eradicate the ash borer, but foresters have been attempting to slow its spread. Madi Lietz And Aliannah Shalikar, oregonlive, 8 Aug. 2022 So what is the funeral home now doing to help slow the violence? Laura Johnston, cleveland, 3 Aug. 2022 In the meantime, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Health have released suggestions to slow the spread of the virus. Sarah Swetlik |, al, 2 Aug. 2022 Crews were working along edges of the fire Sunday, and aircraft were expected to continue to make water and retardant drops to help slow the fire's advance, said Sara Rouse, a spokesperson with the interagency team assigned to the fire. Noah Berger,, 1 Aug. 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

16 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Slow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 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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