- moving or proceeding with little or less than usual speed or velocity: a slow train.
- characterized by lack of speed: a slow pace.
- taking or requiring a comparatively long time for completion: a slow meal; a slow trip.
- requiring or taking a long time for growing, changing, or occurring; gradual: a plant of slow growth.
- sluggish in nature, disposition, or function.
- dull of perception or understanding; mentally dull: a slow child.
- not prompt, readily disposed, or in haste (usually followed by to or an infinitive): slow to anger; slow to take offense.
- burning or heating with little speed or intensity, as a fire or an oven.
- slack; not busy: The market was slow today.
- having some quality that retards speed or causes movement, progress, work, etc., to be accomplished at less than the usual or expected rate of speed: a slow, careful worker; a slow road.
- running at less than the proper rate of speed or registering less than the proper time, as a clock.
- passing heavily or dragging, as time: It's been a slow afternoon.
- not progressive; behind the times: a slow town.
- dull, humdrum, uninteresting, or tedious: What a slow party!
- Photography. requiring long exposure, as by having a small lens diameter or low film sensitivity: a slow lens or film.
- (of the surface of a race track) sticky from a fairly recent rain and in the process of drying out.
- in a slow manner; slowly: Drive slow.
- to make slow or slower (often followed by up or down).
- to retard; reduce the advancement or progress of: His illness slowed him at school.
- to become slow or slower; slacken in speed (often followed by up or down).
Origin of slow
SynonymsSee more synonyms for slow on Thesaurus.com
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.
Examples from the Web for slowness
At times it can seem too proud of its virtuous noncommerciality; its slowness can seem shallow, its artiness willful.‘The Leftovers’ Review: A Fever Dream You Can’t Wake Up From
June 29, 2014
“The key to the show, to building towards the big lines, is in the pauses, the slowness,” she says.Watching Us, Watching Them: On ‘The People’s Couch’
March 20, 2014
Teased for their slowness, many become depressed and angry and act out.The Real Juvenile Offenders
June 22, 2013
In her hands, celluloid comes off as a medium that allows for old-fashioned rumination, with some of the slowness of oil paint.Tacita Dean’s ‘Five Americans’ Captures a Quiet Brilliance
May 7, 2012
People who have done nothing being driven like animals, being punished for their slowness.My Gaza Flotilla Diary
June 4, 2010
The only thing at which she wondered was the slowness of the working of the marvel.The Dream
His slowness was partly assumed; his indifference was a mere habit.
Occasionally he muttered impatiently to himself at the slowness of his progress.
Perhaps so; only his slowness is marked with blood and disasters.Diary from November 12, 1862, to October 18, 1863
The taxi gave no opportunity for complaint as far as slowness was concerned.Cap'n Dan's Daughter
Joseph C. Lincoln
- performed or occurring during a comparatively long interval of time
- lasting a comparatively long timea slow journey
- characterized by lack of speeda slow walker
- (prenominal) adapted to or productive of slow movementthe slow lane of a motorway
- (of a clock, etc) indicating a time earlier than the correct time
- given to or characterized by a leisurely or lazy existencea slow town
- not readily responsive to stimulation; intellectually unreceptivea slow mind
- dull or uninterestingthe play was very slow
- not easily arouseda slow temperament
- lacking promptness or immediacya slow answer
- unwilling to perform an action or enter into a stateslow to anger
- behind the times
- (of trade, etc) unproductive; slack
- (of a fire) burning weakly
- (of an oven) cool
- photog requiring a relatively long time of exposure to produce a given densitya slow lens
- sport (of a track, etc) tending to reduce the speed of the ball or the competitors
- cricket (of a bowler, etc) delivering the ball slowly, usually with spin
- in a manner characterized by lack of speed; slowly
- (often foll by up or down) to decrease or cause to decrease in speed, efficiency, etc
Word Origin and History for slowness
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.
Idioms and Phrases with slowness
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