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.]
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).
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:
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.