adjective, slow·er, slow·est.
adverb, slow·er, slow·est.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
Origin of slow
Synonyms for slow
Antonyms for slow
Originally, slow was used both preceding and following the verb it modified. Today, it is used chiefly in imperative constructions with short verbs of motion ( drive, run, turn, walk, etc.), and it follows the verb: Drive slow. Don't walk so slow. This use is more common in speech than in writing, although it occurs widely on traffic and road signs. Slow also combines with present participles in forming adjectives: slow-burning; slow-moving. In this use it is standard in all varieties of speech and writing.
Slowly is by far the more common form of the adverb in writing. In both speech and writing it is the usual form in preverb position ( He slowly drove down the street. The couple slowly strolled into the park ) and following verbs that are not imperatives ( He drove slowly down the street. The couple strolled slowly through the park ). See also quick, sure.
Word Origin for slow
Old English slaw "inactive, sluggish, torpid, lazy," also "not clever," from Proto-Germanic *slæwaz (cf. Old Saxon sleu "blunt, dull," Middle Dutch slee, Dutch sleeuw "sour, tart, blunt," Old High German sleo "blunt, dull," Old Norse sljor, Danish sløv, Swedish slö "blunt, dull"). Meaning "taking a long time" is attested from early 13c. Meaning "dull, tedious" is from 1841. As an adverb c.1500. The slows "imaginary disease to account for lethargy" is from 1843.
1550s, "make slower;" 1590s, "go slower," from slow (adj.). Related: Slowed; slowing. Old English had slawian (intransitive) "to be or become slow, be sluggish," but the modern use appears to be a 16c. re-formation.
Delay, retard, reduce speed, as in She slowed down the sled by dragging her foot, or Slow down, Bill; you're driving much too fast. [First half of 1800s] Also see slow up.
Become less active or vigorous, as in Now that I'm in my seventies I find I've slowed down quite a bit. [Second half of 1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with slow
- slow burn
- slow but sure
- slow down
- slow on the uptake
- slow up
- mills of the gods grind slowly
- on the uptake, slow