\ 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)


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

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Other Words from slow


slowish \ ˈslō-​ish How to pronounce slowish (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective His path to success, though admittedly a slower and steadier burn, has obviously been for the better. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Jordan Fisher Is Our Wholesome New Heartthrob," 12 Feb. 2020 With the slow and steady drip of bad news dogging SoftBank and its Vision Fund, Son's goal of forming a second mega tech fund is now in doubt. Sherisse Pham, CNN, "Masa Son's big tech dream is fading as more bets sour and key people leave," 11 Feb. 2020 No specific reasons were given, although the province's initial response was deemed slow and ineffective. Joe Mcdonald, Anchorage Daily News, "China still mostly closed down as virus deaths pass 1,000," 11 Feb. 2020 Keeping it slow and steady Averaging 5% growth each year may not seem glamorous. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "'My family runs a business differently than others.' Central Arizona Supply builds business slow and steady," 9 Feb. 2020 Her eyes were watery and her speech was slow and slurred. cleveland, "OVI suspect swishes, swallows mouthwash while speaking with officer: Cleveland Heights police blotter," 7 Feb. 2020 The story of a slow, unreliable public transportation system is not an unfamiliar one to most New Yorkers. Claire Perlman, ProPublica, "Paratransit Services in New York City Are Severely Limited and Unpredictable. They Still Cost $614 Million a Year.," 6 Feb. 2020 Long gaps have to be left between slow and express trains. The Economist, "Investing in rail Why HS2 should go ahead," 6 Feb. 2020 This week, the 77-year-old was slow of the mark, at first refusing to deviate from his Iowa script. Time, "Amidst Lackluster Results in Iowa, Joe Biden Struggles to Reset in New Hampshire," 6 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The one that chides Cowboys management for slow-playing his contract is a new character. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, "Dak Prescott is selling himself now, and that’s a problem for the Dallas Cowboys," 3 Feb. 2020 Second, the government could heavily regulate store locations, marketing, advertising, branding, potency, packaging, and selection, with officials slow-walking new products into the market only after studying them. Dan Adams, BostonGlobe.com, "State-run marijuana stores? Proponents — including Rhode Island’s governor — say it’s an idea worth exploring," 24 Jan. 2020 The game is slow-paced and narrative-focused, with text dialogue and original hymn- and bluegrass-style background music. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "'Kentucky Route Zero': How the acclaimed video game was inspired by the state's caves," 16 Jan. 2020 Yet, progress in easing travel between African countries remains slow-moving: 49% of countries on the continent offer neither visa on arrival nor visa-free travel to other African visitors. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Nigeria has dropped the most in the ranking of powerful passports over the last decade," 13 Jan. 2020 Geminid meteors, radiating from the constellation Gemini, are often seen as slow-moving bright streaks of white light. Jay Bennett, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ten Celestial Events You Don’t Want to Miss in 2020," 14 Jan. 2020 For now, the family’s quest to establish some accountability in Layleen’s death had become the sort of dry, procedural, slow-moving, and official matter that does not inspire headlines. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "Culture War in the Workplace," 13 Jan. 2020 Generations of anglers have wiled away a lazy afternoon on the banks of a slow-moving river with a long rod and a pail full of nightcrawlers, a stringer of feisty channel cats at their feet. Dr. Jason Halfen, Outdoor Life, "5 Fish You Might Not Have Caught Through The Ice But Should," 2 Jan. 2020 On top of slow-moving lines and the anxiety of making your flight, there are also bathroom products to separate out, laptops to remove, and spare change to excavate from your jean pockets. Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler, "Men's Slip-On Shoes That Are Practically Made for Getting Through Airport Security," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Streaming usage nearly doubled over the last two years and shows no signs of slowing down. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "There Were 646,152 Things to Watch on TV Last Year," 13 Feb. 2020 Reuters/Dylan Martinez The exodus of Nigerian immigrants to Canada is showing no signs of slowing down. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "The number of Nigerian immigrants to Canada has tripled in the last five years," 12 Feb. 2020 Coronavirus has been officially declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization — it’s now spread to 18 countries and shows no sign of slowing down. NBC News, "How to talk to your kids about the coronavirus (and ease their fears)," 7 Feb. 2020 The retail apocalypse shows no sign of slowing down: Over the next three years, Macy’s will close 125 department stores, a fifth of its locations. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, "Macy’s Plans to Close 125 Department Stores in the Next Three Years," 5 Feb. 2020 Analysts have warned that the virus outbreak could slash global growth this year, throwing a spanner in the works just as economies were showing signs of stabilizing after more than a year of slowing. CBS News, "Coronavirus cases hit 20,000 as first death reported outside of China," 3 Feb. 2020 Besides, ask around the Timbers, and club insiders will insist Diego appears ageless, with no signs of slowing down. oregonlive, "A dream 10 years in the making: Brothers Diego and Yimmi Chara lead Portland Timbers into 10th MLS season," 1 Feb. 2020 Meanwhile, Lizzo is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "You Have to Watch Lizzo and Harry Styles Perform ‘Juice’ Together," 31 Jan. 2020 More than a mere coffee break, fika embodies the cultural ideal of slowing down to savor life’s little pleasures. Paul Nicolaus, Popular Science, "What the happiest cold-weather countries on the planet know about winter," 31 Jan. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of slow


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


15th 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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Statistics for slow

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Slow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slow. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for slow

How to pronounce slow (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of slow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: not moving quickly : not able to move quickly
: not happening quickly : taking more time than is expected or wanted
: not operating quickly



English Language Learners Definition of slow (Entry 2 of 3)

: in a slow way or at a low speed



English Language Learners Definition of slow (Entry 3 of 3)

: to begin to move at a lower speed
: to make (something, such as a car) move at a lower speed
: to become slower
\ 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?

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More from Merriam-Webster on slow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for slow

Spanish Central: Translation of slow

Nglish: Translation of slow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of slow for Arabic Speakers

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