[ sloh ]
See synonyms for: slowslowedslowerslowest on

adjective,slow·er, slow·est.
  1. moving or proceeding with little or less than usual speed or velocity: a slow train.

  2. characterized by lack of speed: a slow pace.

  1. taking or requiring a comparatively long time for completion: a slow meal; a slow trip.

  2. requiring or taking a long time for growing, changing, or occurring; gradual: a plant of slow growth.

  3. made, created, or done in a careful, thorough, or traditional way in order to ensure such benefits as quality, environmental sustainability, or time for mental reflection:Give slow tourism a try as you leisurely explore this charming island, soak in the surrounding nature, and savor local encounters.What's known as slow journalism is an approach to reporting that avoids superficial headlines and instead focuses on in-depth storytelling and a more considered analysis of events.

  4. sluggish in nature, disposition, or function.

  5. dull of perception or understanding; mentally dull: a slow child.

  6. not prompt, readily disposed, or in haste (usually followed by to or an infinitive): slow to anger; slow to take offense.

  7. burning or heating with little speed or intensity, as a fire or an oven.

  8. slack; not busy: The market was slow today.

  9. 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.

  10. running at less than the proper rate of speed or registering less than the proper time, as a clock.

  11. passing heavily or dragging, as time: It's been a slow afternoon.

  12. not progressive; behind the times: a slow town.

  13. dull, humdrum, uninteresting, or tedious: What a slow party!

  14. Photography. requiring long exposure, as by having a small lens diameter or low film sensitivity: a slow lens or film.

  15. (of the surface of a race track) sticky from a fairly recent rain and in the process of drying out.

adverb,slow·er, slow·est.
  1. in a slow manner; slowly: Drive slow.

verb (used with object)
  1. to make slow or slower (often followed by up or down).

  2. to retard; reduce the advancement or progress of: His illness slowed him at school.

verb (used without object)
  1. to become slow or slower; slacken in speed (often followed by up or down).

Origin of slow

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English slāw “sluggish, dull”; cognate with Dutch sleeuw; cf. sloth

synonym study For slow

1, 2. Slow, deliberate, gradual, leisurely mean unhurried and not happening rapidly. That which is slow acts or moves without haste or rapidity: a slow procession of cars. Deliberate implies the slowness that marks careful consideration before and while acting: a deliberate and calculating manner. Gradual suggests the slowness of something that advances one step at a time: a gradual improvement in service. That which is leisurely moves with the slowness allowed by ample time or the absence of pressure: an unhurried and leisurely stroll. 7. See dull.

confusables note For slow

As an adverb, slow has two forms, slow and slowly. Slowly appeared first in the 15th century; slow came into use shortly thereafter. Both are standard today in certain uses.
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.

Other words for slow

Opposites for slow

Other words from slow

  • slow·ly, adverb
  • slow·ness, noun
  • o·ver·slow, adjective
  • o·ver·slow·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·slow·ness, noun
  • ul·tra·slow, adjective
  • ul·tra·slow·ly, adverb
  • un·slow, adjective
  • un·slow·ly, adverb
  • un·slow·ness, noun
  • un·slowed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use slow in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for slow


/ (sləʊ) /

  1. performed or occurring during a comparatively long interval of time

  2. lasting a comparatively long time: a slow journey

  1. characterized by lack of speed: a slow walker

  2. (prenominal) adapted to or productive of slow movement: the slow lane of a motorway

  3. (of a clock, etc) indicating a time earlier than the correct time

  4. given to or characterized by a leisurely or lazy existence: a slow town

  5. not readily responsive to stimulation; intellectually unreceptive: a slow mind

  6. dull or uninteresting: the play was very slow

  7. not easily aroused: a slow temperament

  8. lacking promptness or immediacy: a slow answer

  9. unwilling to perform an action or enter into a state: slow to anger

  10. behind the times

  11. (of trade, etc) unproductive; slack

  12. (of a fire) burning weakly

  13. (of an oven) cool

  14. photog requiring a relatively long time of exposure to produce a given density: a slow lens

  15. sport (of a track, etc) tending to reduce the speed of the ball or the competitors

  16. cricket (of a bowler, etc) delivering the ball slowly, usually with spin

  1. in a manner characterized by lack of speed; slowly

  1. (often foll by up or down) to decrease or cause to decrease in speed, efficiency, etc

Origin of slow

Old English slāw sluggish; related to Old High German slēo dull, Old Norse slǣr, Dutch sleeuw slow

Derived forms of slow

  • slowly, adverb
  • slowness, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with slow


In addition to the idioms beginning with slow

  • slow burn
  • slow but sure
  • slow down
  • slow on the uptake
  • slow up

also see:

  • mills of the gods grind slowly
  • on the uptake, slow

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.