sloth (slôth, slŏth, slōth)
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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
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