Definition of slow in English:

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Pronunciation: /slō/


1Moving or operating, or designed to do so, only at a low speed; not quick or fast: a time when diesel cars were slow and noisy a slow dot-matrix printer
More example sentences
  • It made short quick movements then proceeded at a 90 degrees from the original movement at a slow speed.
  • The end repeats the design so far - slow followed by fast - in more concentrated form.
  • The days are just moving so fast and slow at the same time, it's difficult to keep track.
unhurried, leisurely, steady, sedate, slow-moving, downtempo, plodding, dawdling, sluggish, sluggardly, lead-footed, poky
1.1Taking a long time to perform a specified action: she was a slow reader [with infinitive]: large organizations can be slow to change
More example sentences
  • While performing it appears slow and gentle but every bit as accomplished as it higher powered and more modern cousins.
  • On the initial attempts, it is helpful for the swimmer to perform long, slow strokes and a long side kick while getting a breath.
  • The dancers form a circle or a long line, holding their clasped hands high in the air to perform this slow, graceful dance.
1.2Lasting or taking a long time: a slow process the journey home was slow
More example sentences
  • The process of deterioration is slow, but steady - the kind of food that is consumed being the culprit.
  • To create a show of this nature is a slow and steady process of workshopping and experiment.
  • Elizabeth has nothing but praise for the service, but she pointed out that it was a slow and steady process, as she had to learn to cope with her fear.
long-drawn-out, time-consuming, lengthy, protracted, prolonged, gradual
1.3 [attributive] Not allowing or intended for fast travel: the slow lane
More example sentences
  • The first half of the Twentieth Century was a time of tremendous change; the last half was a time of fast food and slow travel.
  • And if you are in the slow lane and too fast then again that is your own fault and you should move up a lane, dependent on how crowded other lanes are.
  • The fast-lane campaign works on a similar principle to fast and slow lanes in swimming pools.
1.4(Of a playing field) likely to make the ball bounce or run slowly or to prevent competitors from traveling fast.
Example sentences
  • It was kind of a slow field and was getting a little bogged down at the end.
  • She has shown aptitude on fast and slow ground, is trained by a very able handler who thinks plenty of her and possibly has plenty more to come.
  • For years and years the Australian turf in good weather has been all against the rising fast ball and slow bowler's spin.
2 [predicative or as complement] (Of a clock or watch) showing a time earlier than the correct time: the clock was five minutes slow
More example sentences
  • I was praying that the restaurant clock was slow and I wasn't a minute late.
  • Does it make sense to make a moral judgement on a deceitful person but not on a slow clock?
  • In the unlikely event that the chip-based clock is slow, the deviation will also be reflected in the departure time shown on the ticket.
3Not prompt to understand, think, or learn: he’s so slow, so unimaginative
More example sentences
  • Our human minds are slow to understand the awful wickedness of idol worship.
  • Siobhan and her husband Eamonn, from Montenotte in Cork, realised something was wrong when their toddler was slow to learn to speak.
  • This could mean that in intellectual exercises the child may be ahead, but in learning to ride a bike, for instance, slow to learn such a skill.
obtuse, stupid, unperceptive, insensitive, bovine, stolid, slow-witted, dull-witted, unintelligent, doltish, witless
informal dense, dim, dimwitted, thick, slow on the uptake, dumb, dopey, boneheaded, chowderheaded
4Uneventful and rather dull: a slow and mostly aimless narrative
More example sentences
  • I recognise that this has been a rather slow and dull debate to this point.
  • Yeah, it has been a rather slow, boring kind of day, why do you ask?
  • Her right foot moved first, then her left, alternating in a rather boring and slow way.
4.1(Of business) with little activity; slack: sales were slow
More example sentences
  • After a long struggle to secure a location on campus, the farmers' market has been plagued with slow business and advertising woes.
  • For two months afterwards, business was very slow.
  • Business is slow, so she's practicing on Akiko's daughter, Natsuko.
5 Photography (Of a film) needing long exposure.
Example sentences
  • One of the advantages of animation is that you can use long exposures and slow film stock to reduce grain and capture a lot of fine detail.
  • This in turn and the slow film, will require longer exposures - hence the tripod.
  • My film was too slow, and I didn't get any good pictures.
5.1(Of a lens) having a small aperture.
Example sentences
  • The original image was taken on ASA 50 and with a very small aperture to require a slow shutter speed.
6(Of a fire or oven) burning or giving off heat gently: bake the dish in a preheated slow oven
More example sentences
  • Back from the pub after a drink with Mr FM to the wonderful smell of stew cooking in the slow oven of the Aga.
  • The seeds would then be sun dried or parched over a slow fire to crack open the hulls to then be threshed by trampling.
  • The cheek is cooked in a very slow oven all afternoon, then served on a risotto of carnaroli rice studded with the nuggets of baby cow.


At a slow pace; slowly: the train went slower and slower [in combination]: a slow-moving river
More example sentences
  • Traffic was slow-paced with incidences of minor accidents.
  • The day starts slow paced and builds momentum steadily.
  • Mexico said that the great delays that had arisen in this matter were the result of the slow-paced justice in the courts.


[no object]
1Reduce one’s speed or the speed of a vehicle or process: the train slowed to a halt investment has slowed down [with object]: he slowed the car
More example sentences
  • The police car then slows to a halt, forcing the errant vehicle to slow with it.
  • I knocked it out and jumped out as the vehicle was slowing in traffic.
  • Marianne remembers the train slowing and the cattle doors being slung open.
reduce speed, go slower, decelerate, brake
1.1 (slow down/up) Live or work less actively or intensely: I wasn’t feeling well and had to slow down
More example sentences
  • While the rest of Bulgaria slows down, they may be able to catch up some ground.
  • They start a chemical reaction in your brain - they tell you to slow down and relax.
  • Jo told me it is important to keep active to slow down the progression of my condition.
take it easy, relax, ease up/off, take a break, slack off, let up
informal chill (out), chillax, hang loose


The word slow is normally used as an adjective ( a slow learner; the journey was slow). It is also used as an adverb in certain specific contexts, including compounds such as slow-acting and slow-moving and in the expression go slow. Other adverbial use is informal and usually regarded as nonstandard, as in he drives too slow and go as slow as you can. In such contexts, standard English uses slowly instead. The use of slow and slowly in this respect contrasts with the use of fast, which is completely standard in use as both an adjective and an adverb; there is no word ‘fastly’.


slow but sure

Not quick but achieving the required result eventually: a slow but sure increase in the price of gold
More example sentences
  • He was slow but sure, and he always got there in the end.
  • I chose a stately breaststroke, slow but sure, that meant I could keep an eye on our target.
  • It's a project that's been in the works for 2 years, going slow but sure.



Example sentences
  • I can see enough to cycle at a slowish pace, but when I'm cycling with the bunch now I cycle with people who do know that I have limited vision and they can watch out for me a bit.
  • Despite his slowish running, his bike speed was good enough to propel him into fourth place in the 45-49 age group.
  • I wonder if this is it, the slowish descent to my demise.


Old English slāw 'slow-witted, sluggish', of Germanic origin.

Words that rhyme with slow

aglow, ago, alow, although, apropos, art nouveau, Bamako, Bardot, beau, Beaujolais Nouveau, below, bestow, blow, bo, Boileau, bons mots, Bordeaux, Bow, bravo, bro, cachepot, cheerio, Coe, crow, Defoe, de trop, doe, doh, dos-à-dos, do-si-do, dough, dzo, Flo, floe, flow, foe, foreknow, foreshow, forgo, Foucault, froe, glow, go, good-oh, go-slow, grow, gung-ho, Heathrow, heave-ho, heigh-ho, hello, ho, hoe, ho-ho, jo, Joe, kayo, know, lo, low, maillot, malapropos, Marceau, mho, Miró, mo, Mohs, Monroe, mot, mow, Munro, no, Noh, no-show, oh, oho, outgo, outgrow, owe, Perrault, pho, po, Poe, pro, quid pro quo, reshow, righto, roe, Rouault, row, Rowe, sew, shew, show, sloe, snow, so, soh, sow, status quo, stow, Stowe, strow, tally-ho, though, throw, tic-tac-toe, to-and-fro, toe, touch-and-go, tow, trow, undergo, undersow, voe, whacko, whoa, wo, woe, Xuzhou, yo, yo-ho-ho, Zhengzhou, Zhou

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: slow

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