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adj. slow·er, slow·est
a. Not moving or able to move quickly; proceeding at a low speed: a slow train; slow walkers.
b. Marked by a retarded tempo: a slow waltz.
a. Taking or requiring a long time: the slow job of making bread.
b. Taking more time than is usual: a slow worker; slow progress in the peace negotiations.
3. Allowing movement or action only at a low speed: a slow track; a slow infield.
4. Registering a time or rate behind or below the correct one: a slow clock.
5. Lacking in promptness or willingness; not precipitate: They were slow to accept our invitation.
6. Characterized by a low volume of sales or transactions: Business was slow today.
7. Lacking liveliness or interest; boring: a slow party.
8. Not having or exhibiting intellectual or mental quickness: a slow learner.
9. Only moderately warm; low: a slow oven.
adv. slower, slowest
1. So as to fall behind the correct time or rate: The watch runs slow.
2. At a low speed: Go slow!
v. slowed, slow·ing, slows
1. To make slow or slower.
2. To delay; retard.
To become slow or slower.

[Middle English, from Old English slāw, obtuse, sluggish, dim-witted; akin to Dutch slee, blunt, dull, and Old Norse sljór, blunt, dim-witted.]

slow′ly adv.
slow′ness n.
Synonyms: slow, dilatory, leisurely, laggard
These adjectives mean taking more time than is usual or necessary. Slow is the least specific: a slow bus; a slow heartbeat; slow to anger. Dilatory implies lack of promptness caused by delay, procrastination, or indifference: paid a late fee because I was dilatory in paying the bill. Leisurely suggests a relaxed lack of haste: went for a leisurely walk by the river. Laggard implies hanging back or falling behind: "the horses' laggard pace" (Rudyard Kipling).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




  1. Agonizingly slow like the gradual ripening of a peach on a limb —Sue Grafton
  2. By degrees, as lawyers go to heaven —Anon
  3. [A locomotive] came slowly, like a bison —Saul Bellow
  4. (An hour) crawled by like a sick cockroach —Raymond Chandler
  5. Creeping like a snail —William Shakespeare
  6. Dragged around … like a dog with three legs —Shelby Hearon
  7. [An endless journey] like crossing the Sahara by pogo stick —Robert Silverberg
  8. Gather slowly, like a storm that swirls at sea —Anon
  9. Gradually, like a man entering a swimming pool slowly —Michael Korda

    The gradual process being compared to entering a pool is a return to work.

  10. Grew with such infinite slowness, like a stalactite —Lawrence Durrell
  11. Happening in slow motion like a baseball replay —Maxine Kumin
  12. Have all the speed and liquidity of a slug skating across salt —Erik Sandberg-Diment, New York Times, January 18, 1987

    Diment’s comparison refers to a word processing program.

  13. It [the movie Kangaroo] moves like a slug climbing a cornstalk —Rex Reed, 1987
  14. It takes time … like getting your hair curled —Carlos Baker
  15. Leisurely as the drift of continents —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  16. Life passed him as slowly as traffic on a main artery during the evening rush hour —Anon
  17. Moved as slow as paste —Paul Theroux
  18. (My feet seemed deep in sand. I) moved like some heat-weary animal —Theodore Roethke
  19. Moved slowly, like a diver with heavy boots —Graham Swift
  20. Moved slowly through her days, like a mermaid floating in a translucent sea where all was calm, shadowy, and ambiguous —Peter Meinke
  21. (Here and there a herd of stray cows) moves as slowly as old men on their way to the graveyard —A. D. Winans
  22. (The government) moves like a huge blob of molasses on a two-degree slope —John D. MacDonald

    An extension of the cliche, “Slow as molasses.”

  23. Moving about, slow as earthquake survivors —Brian Moore
  24. A process about as slow and arduous as the building of the pyramids —Edith Wharton

    The process Wharton is describing is character building.

  25. Pushes ahead; slow as a weight —Delmore Schwartz
  26. Slow and silent, like old movies —Sharon Sheehe Stark

    See Also: SILENCE

  27. Slow as a dream —Robert Penn Warren
  28. Slow as a hog on ice with his tail frozen —American colloquialism, attributed to Vermont

    The way Vermonters say it: “With his tail froze.”

  29. Slow as a tortoise —American colloquialism

    To add emphasis there’s, “As old as an old tortoise.”

  30. Slow as dough —Sharon Sheehe Stark

    In a story entitled The Horsehair, the simile is used to draw a portrait of a dull, unambitious man.

  31. Slow as molasses going uphill —Jamaican expression

    A variant of, “Slow as molasses.”

  32. Slow as the hands of a schoolroom clock —W. D. Snodgrass
  33. Slow as the oak’s growth —John Greenleaf Whittier
  34. Slow-blooded, like a lizard in winter —Mary Hood
  35. Slowly, like bodies being dragged —Ross Macdonald
  36. Slowly, like turtles cooking in the sun, we rotated our heads —T. Coraghessan Boyle


  37. Slow-moving like an old woman with a walker —Anon
  38. Slow reluctant process [a city’s morning stirrings], like the waking of a heavy sleeper —Edith Wharton
  39. (Opened the case) with deliberate ceremonial slowness, as if breaking bread at a wedding banquet —Richard Lourie
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Slowness - unskillfulness resulting from a lack of trainingslowness - unskillfulness resulting from a lack of training
unskillfulness - a lack of cognitive skill
rustiness - ineptitude or awkwardness as a consequence of age or lack of practice; "his rustiness showed when he was asked to speed up"
2.slowness - a rate demonstrating an absence of haste or hurry
pace, rate - the relative speed of progress or change; "he lived at a fast pace"; "he works at a great rate"; "the pace of events accelerated"
leisureliness - slowness by virtue of being leisurely
dilatoriness, procrastination - slowness as a consequence of not getting around to it
3.slowness - lack of normal development of intellectual capacities
stupidity - a poor ability to understand or to profit from experience
mental defectiveness, abnormality - retardation sufficient to fall outside the normal range of intelligence
mental deficiency, moronity - mild mental retardation
amentia, idiocy - extreme mental retardation
imbecility - retardation more severe than a moron but not as severe as an idiot
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈsləʊnɪs] N
1. (= lack of speed) → lentitud f
he was criticized for his slowness to act or in actingle criticaron por la lentitud con la que actuó
2. (= mental sluggishness) → torpeza f
3. (= dullness) [of plot, film, book, match] → lentitud f, pesadez f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈsləʊnɪs] nlenteur f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Langsamkeit f; their slowness to actihr Zaudern
(= stupidity: of person) → Begriffsstutzigkeit f; slowness of mindBegriffsstutzigkeit f
(= inactivity: of party, film, plot) → Lahmheit f, → Langweiligkeit f
(Comm: = slackness) → Flaute f
(slowing down movement) (of surface, track, pitch)Langsamkeit f; (because of rain etc) → Schwere f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈsləʊnɪs] nlentezza
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(sləu) adjective
1. not fast; not moving quickly; taking a long time. a slow train; The service at that restaurant is very slow; He was very slow to offer help.
2. (of a clock etc) showing a time earlier than the actual time; behind in time. My watch is five minutes slow.
3. not clever; not quick at learning. He's particularly slow at arithmetic.
to make, or become slower. The car slowed to take the corner.
ˈslowly adverb
He slowly opened his eyes; He drove home slowly.
ˈslowness noun
slow motion
movement which is slower than normal or actual movement especially as a special effect in films. Let's watch it, in slow motion.
slow down/up
to make or become slower. The police were warning drivers to slow down; The fog was slowing up the traffic.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
High into bending and swaying branches he was borne with what seemed to him incredible swiftness, while Tarzan chafed at the slowness of his progress.
Now having come to the army, he informed Kutuzov of the Emperor's displeasure at the poor success of our forces and the slowness of their advance.
A good continued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, shows slowness: and a good reply or second speech, without a good settled speech, showeth shallowness and weakness.
Further, if there be some who think my observations needlessly minute at a moment when they ought to be completely held by rapidity of movement and decision of action, I reply that I have wished to report here, at length and completely, all the details of a plan of attack conceived so rapidly that it is only the slowness of my pen that gives an appearance of slowness to the execution.
He advanced thus into the very thickest of the cavalry, with the tranquil slowness, the lolling of the head and the regular breathing of a harvester attacking a field of wheat.
This delicacy is chiefly evinced in the action of sweeping, when in maidenly gentleness the whale with a certain soft slowness moves his immense flukes from side to side upon the surface of the sea; and if he feel but a sailor's whisker, woe to that sailor, whiskers and all.
After locking up the bureau again, he walked to the window and gazed out as impassibly as he had done at the beginning of the interview, while Raffles took a small allowance from the flask, screwed it up, and deposited it in his side-pocket, with provoking slowness, making a grimace at his stepson's back.
This slowness in getting away, now that she had released him, was too much for her short temper.
There was great news that night for the regular Maypole customers, to each of whom, as he straggled in to occupy his allotted seat in the chimney-corner, John, with a most impressive slowness of delivery, and in an apoplectic whisper, communicated the fact that Mr Chester was alone in the large room upstairs, and was waiting the arrival of Mr Geoffrey Haredale, to whom he had sent a letter
Although they were so different, she thought that she could see in each the same look of satisfaction and completion, the same calmness of manner, and the same slowness of movement.
The stranger thought a moment with his usual slowness, and eyed Robin from head to foot.
Here, apparently, was the Palaeontological Section, and a very splendid array of fossils it must have been, though the inevitable process of decay that had been staved off for a time, and had, through the extinction of bacteria and fungi, lost ninety-nine hundredths of its force, was nevertheless, with extreme sureness if with extreme slowness at work again upon all its treasures.