[ sluhg-ish ]
/ ˈslʌg ɪʃ /


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.

Nearby words

  1. slugfest,
  2. sluggard,
  3. sluggardly,
  4. slugger,
  5. slugging average,
  6. sluggishly,
  7. sluice,
  8. sluicegate,
  9. sluiceway,
  10. sluit

Origin of sluggish

First recorded in 1400–50, sluggish is from the late Middle English word slugissh. See slug1, -ish1

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sluggish

British Dictionary definitions for sluggish


/ (ˈslʌɡɪʃ) /


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