a person who is habitually inactive or lazy.


lazy; sluggardly.

Origin of sluggard

First recorded in 1350–1400, sluggard is from the Middle English word slogarde. See slug1, -ard Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for sluggard

slouch, loafer, lazybones, laggard, drone, idler, slug, snail, dawdler

Examples from the Web for sluggard

Historical Examples of sluggard

  • "The day is young, but I'm no sluggard, you know," said the lawyer.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

    The Biglow Papers

    James Russell Lowell

  • The fans who watch the game of life despise the sluggard in the strife.

    Rippling Rhymes

    Walt Mason

  • To escape this fault, a man must be either a saint or a sluggard.

  • I will not, like a sluggard, wear out my youth in idleness at home.

    Tales from Shakespeare

    Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb

British Dictionary definitions for sluggard



a person who is habitually indolent


Derived Formssluggardly, adjectivesluggardliness, nounsluggardness, noun

Word Origin for sluggard

C14 slogarde; related to slug 1
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

Word Origin and History for sluggard

late 14c., late 13c. as a surname, "habitually lazy person," from Middle English sluggi "sluggish, indolent," probably from a Scandinavian word; cf. dialectal Norwegian slugga "be sluggish," dialectal Norwegian sluggje "heavy, slow person," dialectal Swedish slogga "to be slow or sluggish." Adjective sluggy is attested in English from early 13c.

'Tis the voice of a sluggard -- I heard him complain:
"You have wak'd me too soon, I must slumber again."
[Isaac Watts, 1674-1748]

'Tis the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare
"You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair."
["Lewis Carroll" (Charles L. Dodgson), 1832-1898]

As an adjective meaning "sluggish, lazy" from 1590s. Related: Sluggardly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper