Definition of sloth in US English:



  • 1Reluctance to work or make an effort; laziness.

    ‘he should overcome his natural sloth and complacency’
    • ‘Night after night Shaun drags her to the neighbourhood pub, the Winchester, to suck back pints with his best friend Ed, the poster boy for sloth and neglect.’
    • ‘Their lack of mathematical acumen is taken by parents and teachers as evidence of laziness, of sloth.’
    • ‘Reverend Andy said he wasn't surprised that my zeal of the previous week had been replaced by sloth and apathy.’
    • ‘But can't we have a little listlessness in our lives, some sloth, a dollop or two of drowsiness?’
    • ‘The original ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ are commonly regarded as greed, gluttony, envy, sloth, pride, lust and wrath. search news’
    • ‘Once again the drawbacks to living a life of laziness and sloth became apparent.’
    • ‘Their suspicions focussed particularly on what Cornwallis and his kind characterized as sloth and desertion.’
    • ‘However, I was by now committed to a day of gluttony and sloth, and so spent the afternoon eating chocolate and watching ‘reality’ tv.’
    • ‘I firmly believe that sloth and indolence are much kinder to the environment than greed and ambition.’
    • ‘It seems to be intrinsic to domestic politics of every variety that a certain dismal downward trend emerges, characterized by sloth, despondency and complacency.’
    • ‘The wandering soul has countless names, many of them suggestive of sloth and indolence.’
    • ‘The law was against loitering, though it may as well have been against idleness and sloth.’
    • ‘When does the diagnosis become lethargy or sloth?’
    • ‘The long, hot dusty afternoons, where time hangs still, and dry leaves fly in sad whirls before collapsing to the ground, the inertia and sloth that drives even the most energetic into a huddle, the sense of despair.’
    • ‘‘It's about idleness and sloth, and not getting out there and bringing in fresh, exciting stories,’ he says.’
    • ‘It's ridiculous that I've got one of the largest cultural cities in the world to the south of me, lots of which it costs relatively little to see and I let sloth and lethargy stop me from seeing it.’
    • ‘I wouldn't like to use the term gradual laziness to describe the deterioration my work ethic - not when words like indolence, sloth and bone-idleness will do so much better.’
    • ‘My main moral failings have always centered on greed and sloth.’
    • ‘Call it lethargy, call it ennui, call it plain, honest to goodness sloth, but I had yet to stir my bones and make the trek north.’
    • ‘In the triumph of Royalist counter-revolution Milton saw the dangers of political passivity, of ideological sloth.’
    laziness, idleness, indolence, slothfulness, inactivity, inertia, sluggishness, apathy, accidie, listlessness, lassitude, passivity, lethargy, languor, torpidity, slowness, heaviness, dullness, shiftlessness
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  • 2A slow-moving tropical American mammal that hangs upside down from the branches of trees using its long limbs and hooked claws.

    Families Bradypodidae (three species of three-toed sloth in genus Bradypus) and Megalonychidae (two species of two-toed sloth in genus Choloepus), order Xenarthra (or Edentata)

    • ‘The group currently includes armadillos, 2-toed sloths, 3-toed sloths, and anteaters, placed in four families containing 29 species.’
    • ‘The cerebellum is nearly the same fraction of the brain in sloths and cats, sheep, manatees and antelopes but many fold bigger in some elasmobranch species than in others.’
    • ‘Two toed sloths are perhaps more heterothermic than any other mammal.’
    • ‘This night, the turtle was laying her eggs on a low shelf of sand near a line of dune scrub and low palms, not far from dense jungle that is home to the deadly fer-de-lance snake, caimans, howler monkeys and sloths.’
    • ‘The sloths and armadillos are rather odd mammals characteristic of South America.’
    • ‘He doesn't like to hang on trees with the other sloths.’
    • ‘But the journey, which leads to the discovery of shards of ancient pottery and the bones of extinct sloths, makes for a story of great suspense.’
    • ‘Three-toed sloths weigh 3-5 kg; their bodies run around 0.5 m in length.’
    • ‘Dogs, rhinoceroses, tree sloths, horses, and whales are placentals.’
    • ‘The first has been likened to tree sloths and the second compared to koala bears.’
    • ‘South America was also home to living species of armadillos and sloths.’
    • ‘The woolly rhinos and cave bears of Europe and Asia, the saber-toothed cats, the mastodons and giant sloths of North and South America - could some of these have made it through too?’
    • ‘But on the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola - shared today by modern-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic - sloths survived until about 4,400 years ago.’
    • ‘Monkeys, tapirs, sloths, anteaters, and bats abound, all in an area the size of West Virginia.’
    • ‘Saber-toothed cats, mastodons, giant sloths, woolly rhinos, and many other big, shaggy mammals are widely thought to have died out around the end of the last ice age, some 10,500 years ago.’
    • ‘You can walk through a tropical jungle and admire parrots, poison tree frogs and sloths in the trees and piranhas in the water beneath, or watch beluga whales and sea otters through the windows of large tanks in the Canadian Arctic display.’
    • ‘In South America, a group known as the Xenarthrans developed, today represented by the anteaters, sloths and armadillos.’
    • ‘Peccaries, tapirs, anteaters, armadillos, sloths, coatis, and others are around but hard to see.’
    • ‘This category includes three very different groups of animals: the armadillos, the ant-eaters, and the sloths.’
    • ‘They come down trees head-first like squirrels; stand on their hind legs balancing on their tails like kangaroos; and crawl and hang upside-down in the canopy like sloths.’


Old English: from slow + -th.