\ 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 Rourke posted a clip of Bartholomew’s video in slow-motion to social media that shows her getting punched in the face. James Bikales, Washington Post, 25 June 2022 Inflation had been slow in America for most of the 21st century, weighed down by long-running trends like the aging of the population and globalization. New York Times, 24 June 2022 The full extent of the destruction among the villages tucked in the mountains was slow in coming to light. Ebrahim Noroozi,, 22 June 2022 Research into the potential use of this technology had been ongoing for decades and progress was slow. John Lamattina, Forbes, 20 June 2022 But the district manager sent emails multiple times a day questioning why sales were slow. Christine Mui, Fortune, 16 June 2022 The carousel included three selfies captured from different angles and a slow-motion video of the singer flipping her hair in all of its bouncy glory. Michelle Lee,, 15 June 2022 Touzani showcases practically every step of its creation, using the process as a kind of slow-motion seduction between Halim and Youssef. Peter Debruge, Variety, 5 June 2022 Three episodes earlier, at the beginning of ST4, Max is listening to it during a slow-motion walk down the school hallway to the guidance counselor’s office. Erica Gonzales, ELLE, 29 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The employee retention credit (ERC) started out slow but keeps going strong, even to the present day. Daniel Mayo, Forbes, 21 June 2022 To balance that risk, Western countries are going slow on sanctions tied to energy. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, 16 June 2022 The Fed ideally would like to see CPI slow to about a 3% to 3.5% clip, if not lower, before declaring a victory against inflation. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 5 June 2022 Launched in 2021, the Award catches Brazilian cinema as some federal funding lines have begun to be renewed, starting last December, but the Bolsonaro government’s incentive slow-down, compounded by pandemic, has decimated its film industry. John Hopewell, Variety, 30 May 2022 Over the last three years, a notable slow-down in residential development has occurred as compared to the preceding 2016-2018-time period. Baltimore Sun, 17 May 2022 In the fourth quarter of 2021, corporate profit growth did slow sharply, rising just 0.7% from the previous quarter. Will Daniel, Fortune, 31 Mar. 2022 The idea is to go through the course at a pace slow-and-steady enough to be sustainable but fast enough to qualify to do it all over again, and the rewards of such self-discipline are entirely, even pathologically, personal and internal. Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2022 Ohio’s slow-yet-steady vaccination pace continued this week. Jane Morice |, cleveland, 16 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The state first opened sites in the spring of 2020 to help slow the spread of the virus., 23 June 2022 Instead, Powell said that higher borrowing costs for things like mortgages, auto loans and credit cards, resulting directly from the Fed's hikes, can help slow consumer demand and inflation pressures. Christopher Rugaber, ajc, 22 June 2022 Instead, Powell said that higher borrowing costs for things like mortgages, auto loans and credit cards, resulting directly from the Fed’s hikes, can help slow consumer demand and inflation pressures. Christopher Rugaber, Anchorage Daily News, 22 June 2022 Delta 8 THC may also have neuroprotective properties and could help to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 June 2022 The technology-rich Nasdaq index this year is down more than 20 percent, which may help slow the economy as chastened investors retrench on spending. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, 4 June 2022 Some mink herds have now been vaccinated, which might help slow transmission on farms. Emily Anthes, New York Times, 22 May 2022 Wildlife health experts at the Raptor Center are hopeful warmer weather will help slow transmission of the disease over the coming weeks. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 21 May 2022 If funds are not needed for the intended purpose, they should be returned to the Federal government to help slow the rapid increase in the nation's deficit, which is contributing to debilitating inflation. Baltimore Sun, 18 May 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

29 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Slow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 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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