\ 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 Brendan Perlini is jelling with the Red Wings after a slow start. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings hope that as lineup jells, they're able to score a few more goals," 19 Nov. 2019 The 2017 first-round draft pick's slow start (17 receptions, 223 yards, one TD) has been a disappointment. Fred Goodall, orlandosentinel.com, "Bruce Arians says Bucs won’t give up, but Tampa Bay has little time to start winning," 18 Nov. 2019 After a slow start, the Class 6A No. 10 Giants have found their way led by the defense and are semistate bound following Friday’s 28-7 regional win over host Zionsville. Paul Shepherd, Indianapolis Star, "It took Ben Davis some time to find itself, but now Giants are one game away from state," 16 Nov. 2019 The slow start had a Kentucky fan base still smarting from the Tennessee game and a shocking basketball loss to Evansville Tuesday in meltdown mode. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky football pounds its way to 401 rushing yards in win over Vanderbilt," 16 Nov. 2019 All lanes on 101 were reopened at 6:40 a.m., according to the CHP but traffic was still slow in the area. Michael Cabanatuan, SFChronicle.com, "Overturned vehicles cause traffic alerts on Highway 101 and Highway 85," 12 Nov. 2019 Those who have been through the painful, slow process of reform in other cities say this is a weighty task that requires a superintendent with a steely, fearless personality. Madeline Buckley, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago’s next top cop critical to continued progress on police reform," 8 Nov. 2019 In evergreens, the symptoms of drought are very slow in showing. Ellen Nibali, baltimoresun.com, "Garden Q&A: On alert for the spotted lanternfly and what’s wrong with the holly," 31 Oct. 2019 Mexican customs officials work out of the airport to pre-clear goods headed to Mexico, allowing the items to bypass an often slow customs clearance process in Mexico that can take between two days and two weeks. Alison Steinbach, azcentral, "Huge SkyBridge project with customs facility at Mesa's Gateway airport gets underway," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The marsupials are also slow moving and live in eucalyptus trees that can ignite quickly, which makes them all the more vulnerable to wildfires, International Fund for Animal Welfare says. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "A dog named Bear is saving koalas from wildfires in Australia," 20 Nov. 2019 Only the best satire becomes successful art in and of itself, and Weezer’s wild slow-jam winner is more than deserving of some radio representation this winter. Alex Suskind, EW.com, "EW's Friday Five: Billie Eilish confronts fame, Weezer meets Disney, and more of the best songs of the week," 16 Nov. 2019 From 1-8 p.m., a special dinner ($70) will be served and feature slow-roasted black truffle turkey breast with brioche stuffing, Brussels sprouts and seasonal mushrooms with confit turkey leg. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "Here are 38 restaurants for Thanksgiving dinner and brunch in metro Phoenix," 15 Nov. 2019 We're taken it slow and moving on to the next step. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers' Christian Yelich finishes second in NL MVP balloting to Los Angeles' Cody Bellinger," 14 Nov. 2019 If a driver is caught in a snow squall, NWS Cleveland urges drivers slow down, durn on their headlights, and avoid slamming the brakes. Madeleine Carlisle, Time, "Arctic Blast to Hit 240 Million People Across the U.S. With Freezing Temperatures and Weather Warnings," 12 Nov. 2019 While Bognar and Reichert's speech focused on the evolution of documentary filmmaking, including its slow but growing democratization, Scorsese and Apted both offered more sweeping remarks about their work and the medium. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, "'American Factory' Team, Martin Scorsese Honored at DOC NYC Tribute Event," 8 Nov. 2019 Nightly Lawry’s houses hordes of locals and tourists seeking slow-roasted prime rib wheeled elegantly around in shiny stainless-steel carts. Nick Kindelsperger, chicagotribune.com, "What happened to side dishes? Invisible at trendy restaurants, they’re still going strong at Chicago’s steakhouses," 31 Oct. 2019 Drivers should give themselves plenty of time, drive slow and don’t follow vehicles too closely. Tom Mcghee, The Denver Post, "Colorado road conditions: Third day of snow brings more traffic woes," 29 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That weighs on trade worldwide and threatens to depress corporate earnings and global economic growth, which has already showed signs of slowing. BostonGlobe.com, "New US-China trade worries pull stocks lower - The Boston Globe," 21 Nov. 2019 That weighs on trade worldwide and threatens to depress corporate earnings and global economic growth, which has already showed signs of slowing. Washington Post, "Global shares skid on renewed US-China trade worries," 21 Nov. 2019 AP Photo/Matt York Alzheimer’s, one of the direst health threats in the US, is not showing signs of slowing down. Kevin Hrusovsky, Quartz, "The most promising breakthrough in Alzheimer’s treatment is not a drug," 14 Nov. 2019 Queen Elizabeth is showing no signs of slowing down. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Just Rode Horseback at Age 93," 13 Nov. 2019 But despite these new brand extensions, Oulton's knack for showcasing his passion for vintage and its relevance to modern design shows no signs of slowing down. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "The Art of "Humble Luxury" is the Key to Timothy Oulton's Business," 11 Nov. 2019 And the developer boom is showing no signs of slowing down. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Africa is the world’s fastest-growing continent for software developers," 7 Nov. 2019 That weighs on trade worldwide and threatens to depress global economic growth that already is showing signs of slowing. CBS News, "China says tariffs will come down if trade deal reached with U.S.," 7 Nov. 2019 That weighs on trade worldwide and threatens to depress global economic growth that already is showing signs of slowing. NBC News, "China says Beijing, U.S. to lift tariff hikes as talks advance," 7 Nov. 2019

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

22 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Slow.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slowish. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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