• synonyms


See more synonyms for sluggish on Thesaurus.com
  1. indisposed to action or exertion; lacking in energy; lazy; indolent: a sluggish disposition.
  2. not acting or working with full vigor, as bodily organs: a sluggish liver.
  3. slow to act or respond: a sluggish car engine.
  4. moving slowly, or having little motion, as a stream.
  5. slow, as motion.
  6. slack, as trade, business, or sales.
Show More

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


See more synonyms for sluggish on Thesaurus.com
1. slow, slothful. See inactive.


1. quick, active.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sluggish

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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


  1. lacking energy; inactive; slow-moving
  2. functioning at below normal rate or level
  3. exhibiting poor response to stimulation
Show More
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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper