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sloth (slôth, slŏth, slōth)
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n.
1. Aversion to work or exertion; laziness; indolence.
2. Any of various slow-moving, arboreal mammals of the suborder Folivora of South and Central America, having long hooklike claws by which they hang upside down from tree branches, and feeding on leaves, buds, and fruit, especially:
a. A member of the genus Bradypus, having three long-clawed toes on each forefoot. Also called ai, three-toed sloth.
b. A member of the genus Choloepus, having two toes on each forefoot. Also called two-toed sloth, unau.
3. A group of bears.

[Middle English slowth, alteration (influenced by slow, slow) of sleuth, from Old English slǣwth, from slāw, obtuse, torpid, sluggish; see SLOW. Sense 2, translation of Portuguese preguiça, laziness, sloth (animal of the suborder Folivora).]
(click for a larger image)
sloth
brown-throated three-toed sloth
Bradypus variegatus

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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