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Slow but steady wins the race

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Consistent, effective effort leads to success. This is the moral of one of Aesop's fables, “The Tortoise and the Hare.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

MORE ABOUT SLOW BUT STEADY WINS THE RACE

What does Slow but steady wins the race mean?

Slow but steady wins the race is a phrase that means slow, productive progress leads to success, as in We take your time to build this house right. Remember, slow but steady wins the race! 

You’re likely to hear Slow but steady wins the race when someone thinks doing something slowly but skillfully is better because it helps to avoid mistakes.

You’re less likely to hear this phrase when you are on a tight deadline. Speed rather than quality become more important during those times.

Slow and steady wins the race is a variation of this phrase.

Example: You have more than enough time to finish the final exam. Slow but steady wins the race. 

Where does Slow but steady wins the race come from?

The first records of the phrase Slow but steady wins the race come from around 1755. Slow but steady wins the race has often been cited as a moral of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” one of the many fables written by ancient Greek writer Aesop (c620–c560 b.c.e.). The phrase states that success (“winning the race”) is achieved by taking your time (“slow”) and making consistent (“steady”) progress rather than quick, uneven progress.

In the fable, a cocky hare challenges a tortoise to a foot race. Confident that he will win easily, the hare takes a nap during the race. The hare oversleeps, though, and he ends up losing to the slow tortoise. Often, the fable ends with the tortoise telling the hare that slow but steady wins the race.

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What are some other forms related to slow but steady wins the race?

  • slow and steady wins the race

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How is slow but steady wins the race used in real life?

Slow but steady wins the race is a common phrase said by people who think it is better to be slow and careful than fast and inconsistent.

Try using slow but steady wins the race!

True or False?

Slow but steady wins the race means that success is achieved by being lazy and doing nothing.

How to use Slow but steady wins the race in a sentence

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