indisposed to action or exertion; lacking in energy; lazy; indolent: a sluggish disposition.
not acting or working with full vigor, as bodily organs: a sluggish liver.
slow to act or respond: a sluggish car engine.
moving slowly, or having little motion, as a stream.
slow, as motion.
slack, as trade, business, or sales.

Origin of sluggish

First recorded in 1400–50, sluggish is from the late Middle English word slugissh. See slug1, -ish1
Related formsslug·gish·ly, adverbslug·gish·ness, nounun·slug·gish, adjectiveun·slug·gish·ly, adverbun·slug·gish·ness, noun

Synonyms for sluggish

Antonyms for sluggish Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sluggish

Contemporary Examples of sluggish

Historical Examples of sluggish

  • He wrestled with the big and sluggish stone, as if it had been a living enemy.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • And how, on the other hand, are we to strengthen it, to quicken its sluggish blood?

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • The cold air entering by the open window, whipped his sluggish blood.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • When the climate was warm they were active; when the climate was cold they were sluggish.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • A thousand feet below was the white lake, sluggish and dead.

    The Martian Cabal

    Roman Frederick Starzl

British Dictionary definitions for sluggish



lacking energy; inactive; slow-moving
functioning at below normal rate or level
exhibiting poor response to stimulation
Derived Formssluggishly, adverbsluggishness, 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

Word Origin and History for sluggish

mid-15c., from Middle English slugge "lazy person" (see sluggard) + -ish. Earlier adjective was sluggi (early 13c.). Related: Sluggishly; sluggishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper