Definition of slow in US English:



  • 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’
    • ‘No more waiting for slow websites with internet speeds up to 10 times faster than a normal 56k service.’
    • ‘Movements are large and appear relatively slow in the techniques designed for armored combat.’
    • ‘The speeds are quite slow, but fast enough for a little surfing and emails that aren't way too big.’
    • ‘It was especially difficult because of the slow speed at which the criminal justice system operated.’
    • ‘That United weren't streets ahead by half-time was down to their slow, slow, quick, quick, slow approach in the opening period.’
    • ‘And if the heart rate gets too slow, it will speed it up like a pacemaker.’
    • ‘The days are just moving so fast and slow at the same time, it's difficult to keep track.’
    • ‘The end repeats the design so far - slow followed by fast - in more concentrated form.’
    • ‘My speed was so slow that bicycles were actually overtaking me.’
    • ‘So it seems to me that the alert system was a little slow in operating.’
    • ‘He tends to swell held notes in both slow and fast movements, perhaps a nod to authentic performance.’
    • ‘To sum up, to show action and movement, select a slow shutter speed and stand side on to the action.’
    • ‘Motorbikes in the summer are the worst for speed and caravans create long lines of very slow moving traffic.’
    • ‘The alternatives are various forms of death - quick, slow, agonising, or imperceptible.’
    • ‘The term passing lanes implies that the road is divided into slow and fast moving traffic lanes.’
    • ‘On the slow speed circuits it's proved that it's fast at Imola and I think here it's proved that it's quick and reliable on a high-speed circuit.’
    • ‘In our tests, this printer was slow, noisy and yielded the least impressive results, even with the subtle photo cartridge in place.’
    • ‘Well, because of its speed, which was slow, and its size, which was huge, Frances was and is a colossal rain maker.’
    • ‘A lorry driver, stopped because of his slow speed, was found to be more than two-and-a-half times the legal alcohol limit, a court heard.’
    • ‘It made short quick movements then proceeded at a 90 degrees from the original movement at a slow speed.’
    unhurried, leisurely, measured, moderate, deliberate, steady, sedate, slow-moving, slow-going, easy, relaxed, unrushed, gentle, undemanding, comfortable
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Taking a long time to perform a specified action.
      ‘she was a slow reader’
      with infinitive ‘large organizations can be slow to change’
      • ‘Saying this, James loosed a volley from all of his guns while performing a slow barrel roll.’
      • ‘This was important for his original readers in a country slow to catch musical tastes from elsewhere.’
      • ‘Still, transactions were delayed, data was missing and system performance was slow.’
      • ‘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 parallel port interface of our media card reader was too slow.’
      • ‘However, it doesn't seem to be slow as a CD-ROM reader, so most users might not notice.’
      • ‘The national press has become a shadow of its former self, a heavy beast too heavy to move, too slow to maintain the reader's attention.’
      • ‘The autonomic function tests were performed as in the slow breathing group and the values were recorded before and after the study.’
      • ‘David gave a first class performance in slow airs, jigs and hornpipes.’
      • ‘I'll also just mention that I am a very slow reader.’
      • ‘This eliminates the multiple acknowledgments that create congestion and slow performance.’
      • ‘The dancers form a circle or a long line, holding their clasped hands high in the air to perform this slow, graceful dance.’
      • ‘The hard disk is nearly full, the desktop has about 100 items on it, performance is achingly slow.’
      • ‘While performing it appears slow and gentle but every bit as accomplished as it higher powered and more modern cousins.’
      • ‘Users can continue to use the web-based file upload utility gratis, but this can be slow, reader Helen Cain points out.’
      • ‘Performance is somewhat slow, but this is not unusual for filters doing complex calculations.’
      • ‘The long, slow repetition of simple, but heavily detuned chords mimics, in a way, the chanting of monks.’
      • ‘The story of the Prudential has stopped being one of irritating slow performance and become something much more important.’
      • ‘Only minutes before office workers performed boozy slow dances around this suburban pub to chart hits.’
      • ‘For full effect and for safety, flyes must be performed in a slow and controlled manner.’
    2. 1.2 Lasting or taking a long time.
      ‘a slow process’
      ‘the journey home was slow’
      • ‘Changing behavior, as we are well aware, is a very slow process.’
      • ‘The process of deterioration is slow, but steady - the kind of food that is consumed being the culprit.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most of our boxes are unpacked now but there's chaos everywhere and it's a slow process of getting everything sorted out.’
      • ‘Though it was reported that attracting foreign investment has accelerated since 1997, the process is still slow.’
      • ‘Scientists hope patients will adapt, though the learning process might be slow, like a child beginning to recognise shapes and colours.’
      • ‘Well I don't know what sort of speedy trial law they have in Texas, but the legal process is inevitably slow.’
      • ‘Detainees live absent any points of reference, the whole process is very slow, and that detainees have the feeling that they are living in limbo.’
      • ‘He has called for the council and police to work together and make travellers move on immediately from council land, as the current legal process is too slow.’
      • ‘‘Everything is progressing well but it is a slow process,’ he explained.’
      • ‘The grieving process is typically slow, gradually winding along until it eventually lessens.’
      • ‘But the push by environmentalists to ban the trade is a slow process.’
      • ‘The evolution of humankind is a slow and tortuous process.’
      • ‘Currently, the process is slow, expensive and done manually.’
      • ‘But this is a slow process and it could be a matter of months before we have any results.’
      • ‘Yet the slow process of reconstruction, following the ravages of a diamond-fuelled civil war, continues.’
      • ‘Doctors kept them in an artificial coma as their bodies began the slow process of repairing the damage caused while they were both clinically dead.’
      • ‘It is a very slow process, promising a little progress at a time.’
      • ‘Goux apologised to the 180 candidate jurors for the slow selection process.’
      • ‘Technically South and North Korea are still at war, but Kim Dae Jung's achievement has been a slow process of reconciliation.’
      • ‘I don't remember it happening all at once - it must have been a slow process, like ice breaking away from a glacier.’
      • ‘But Mr Jeffs called the sifting through of so much information ‘a long, slow process’.’
      • ‘This has been a slow process is was initiated several years ago and has raised doubts about the commerciality of the project.’
      • ‘It takes a long, slow process to build a brand name.’
      • ‘Much of the main building was covered by one of the collapsed walls, making a comprehensive search of the site a painstakingly slow process.’
      • ‘It's a slow process but it's time well spent to educate others and provide tools on how to live gently and harmoniously on our planet.’
      • ‘So I fired up the computer, pulled the blind against the fading sky, and settled down to a slow, steady effort.’
      • ‘For Mukherjee, the journey to becoming an American was a slow process.’
      • ‘A number of experimenters and sanitation facilities have been extracting gas from sewage for years now, but it's diluted so much that the process is slow.’
      • ‘It's a slow process, rivaled only by the time it takes to evict someone from their apartment in New York.’
      • ‘Well, there's a very slow and cautious process of reform in Damascus.’
      • ‘To create a show of this nature is a slow and steady process of workshopping and experiment.’
      • ‘Actually, there is, but it's a slow, long process, which needs a great deal of will and a huge amount of effort from pivotal people in both groups.’
      • ‘As you can imagine, it was a lot of waiting and a lot of anxious moments, but it was a very slow and deliberate process.’
      • ‘Snail mating is a slow, languorous process, but it also involves some heavy weaponry.’
      long-drawn-out, time-consuming, lengthy, long-lasting, protracted, prolonged, interminable
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3attributive Not allowing or intended for fast travel.
      ‘the slow lane’
      • ‘The fast-lane campaign works on a similar principle to fast and slow lanes in swimming pools.’
      • ‘I was in the slow lane and sensed where the shoulder should be, so I eased the car off the roadway and let it scrape the railing to be sure we were in a safe spot.’
      • ‘However, with all of the traffic headed north and none going south, travel remains slow.’
      • ‘Had I, in some inexplicable way, left my own town earlier than I intended, and really travelled in a slow train?’
      • ‘A second visit to Venice took place in the midst of the Thirty Years' War, when travel was slow and hazardous.’
      • ‘The convoy had many days left of this slow travel ahead of it.’
      • ‘The cool water and slow pace of travel will make it much more pleasant.’
      • ‘It was far away and traveling very slow (seven miles per hour); no need to worry now.’
      • ‘They overcame grinding poverty, tremendous distances on slow transportation with no travel budgets.’
      • ‘The other, who I know of old, remained in the slow lane.’
      • ‘Not only was travel difficult and slow in the eleventh century, he was also still Duke of Normandy and he had to return to Normandy to maintain his control of this land in France.’
      • ‘There are no other cars on the road and the truck drivers just chill in their slow lane and leave the fast one all to you.’
      • ‘Traffic is travelling at a slow rate with back ups developing that are unnecessary.’
      • ‘It was clear that the majority of drivers felt that this signage was either redundant or in error and few were driving at 50 mph, even in the slow lane.’
      • ‘Any additional torque provided the same slow seat post travel into the seat tube.’
      • ‘It was slow travel, through wet heavy snow along the bank of a small stream, but within less than a mile we came to a kill.’
      • ‘Travel on it was slow but cheap, and heavy loads could be easily shifted.’
      • ‘Police say they are stumped as to why a man decided to walk into the slow lane of a motorway - and was then knocked down and killed in a collision with a car.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Warren said that to flee the murder scene he drove a blue van from the fast lane on the Naas Road across a slow lane and into a slip road leading to the Boot Road.’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4 (of a playing field) likely to make the ball bounce or run slowly or to prevent competitors from traveling fast.
      • ‘Williams is slow off the ball because he's too worded about making a mistake.’
      • ‘To me he is a natural sweeper, he reads the game well for a young player but at times he is too slow on the ball and a little languid.’
      • ‘In Jai-Alai you will hear people talk about live or dead balls and fast or slow balls.’
      • ‘Before the match his high watermark was 33, but he belted the fast men down the ground and slow bowlers square in a performance to embarrass his batsmen.’
      • ‘At the Combine, the surface is slow, but at least the conditions are a constant.’
      • ‘It was kind of a slow field and was getting a little bogged down at the end.’
      • ‘Indeed, slow neutrons often find their way into nuclei more efficiently than fast ones, much as a slow cricket ball is easier to catch.’
      • ‘He was a fast batter and she'd thrown a series of slow and fast balls.’
      • ‘Muralitharan's brief cameo came to an end with a straight slow ball by Waqar to signal the end for the Lankans.’
      • ‘Maybe a slow surface would have tested his fitness, a lot better.’
      • ‘The slower bowlers have often been difficult to attack on the slow St George's surfaces.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pollock was also unfazed by the fact the Paarl pitch was likely to play slow, which would be to the Lankans' advantage.’
      • ‘Also, I fielded a slow roller and tripped over the mound and fell flat on my face.’
      • ‘Finally, Rosen hit a slow grounder toward Detroit third baseman Gerry Priddy and raced as hard as he could for first.’
      • ‘The batsmen just couldn't pick my slow looping balls, playing and missing regularly.’
      • ‘For years and years the Australian turf in good weather has been all against the rising fast ball and slow bowler's spin.’
      • ‘It was awful up there, cold and damp, and the ground was too slow for my liking.’
      • ‘Either table can be played with normal or slow balls, the latter intended to make the going easier for younger hands.’
      • ‘Injuries often kept Larson off the field, and a slow bat hurt him when he did play.’
  • 2predicative or as complement (of a clock or watch) showing a time earlier than the correct time.

    ‘the clock was five minutes slow’
    • ‘Does it make sense to make a moral judgement on a deceitful person but not on a slow clock?’
    • ‘A slow clock and a bit of sun will metaphorically take the foot of the gas a bit.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The two files were saved on different dates, he said, because the computer's internal clock was slow and ticked over to midnight in between.’
    • ‘We are a little late, and I notice the clock is four minutes slow anyway.’
    • ‘The gameplay speed and clock is extremely slow, but these settings can easily be customized.’
    • ‘In the old days when bookmakers dominated betting, it was not unknown for slickers to fix a bookie's clock, making it slow.’
    • ‘I was praying that the restaurant clock was slow and I wasn't a minute late.’
    • ‘All the same results hold - to Alice, it appears that the clock is going slow!’
  • 3Not prompt to understand, think, or learn.

    ‘he's so slow, so unimaginative’
    • ‘This is unfortunate because, as we have been slow to learn, the various sectors of health care are critically interdependent.’
    • ‘I encourage those people who are a little weak and slow to learn, I try and work with them and drag them along.’
    • ‘Barrett was slow to learn the defense last season, but he's athletic, fearless and can play the ball.’
    • ‘His name is Mathicumus, and he is rather slow in the head, you know.’
    • ‘You can't coming across as a smug and superior school marm correcting a slow child if you want to succeed.’
    • ‘In truth, the sort of skills he's trying to introduce are more easily learnt by youngsters - mature rugby players can be slow learners.’
    • ‘He has been a slow learner but has learnt the finer points and has put them into practice for the benefit of the team.’
    • ‘He's a bit slow to learn and it took time for the penny to drop, then he started to finish even though he would have hated the ground.’
    • ‘Siobhan and her husband Eamonn, from Montenotte in Cork, realised something was wrong when their toddler was slow to learn to speak.’
    • ‘He was a little slow in understanding our request and we lamented in front of him that you couldn't get good hired help anymore.’
    • ‘I was slow in learning the skills and my legs and back soon started to ache.’
    • ‘Though he has been slow to learn the position, the team plans to work him there more often.’
    • ‘The future is not bright for those who still use ox-carts - the ones who are slow or unwilling to absorb new expertise.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic, terminal illness that had been slowly killing him for all his young life.’
    • ‘O-lan is plain looking, dull, and slow, but she is hard working, thrifty, and resourceful.’
    • ‘He was essentially a reactive politician, a late learner, slow to grasp the consequences of change.’
    • ‘It seems likely that families with generally lower cognitive levels are going to be more likely to have kids who are slow to learn to read.’
    • ‘The boys get out to a lead with Scout again holding the girls back with her old body and mind just to damn slow for winning challenges.’
    • ‘Private tuitions are not allowed and slow learners are encouraged to come up instead of being condemned.’
    • ‘Our human minds are slow to understand the awful wickedness of idol worship.’
    obtuse, stupid, unperceptive, imperceptive, blind, uncomprehending, unimaginative, insensitive, bovine, stolid, slow-witted, dull-witted, unintelligent, doltish, witless, blockish
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  • 4Uneventful and rather dull.

    ‘a slow and mostly aimless narrative’
    • ‘Amassing cash is a surefire - but incredibly slow and dull - way to make a million, assuming that your bank doesn't go bust.’
    • ‘Our ride was slow and dull, conversationless, through land that seemed to look all the same.’
    • ‘The flashbacks to the uncles' escapades in Africa ought to have been the saving grace of a rather uninteresting slow plot.’
    • ‘Yeah, it has been a rather slow, boring kind of day, why do you ask?’
    • ‘This game had all the ingredients of the banal and wonderful as it slipped from dull slow football to edge of the seat stuff.’
    • ‘For a time, perhaps, she had broken away from a slow, uneventful life.’
    • ‘Dull slow ballad type tracks that don't really go anywhere.’
    • ‘He answered all the questions that were put to him in his slow and dull manner, using readymade and overcooked phrases.’
    • ‘On my first listen, I found the album dull and slow, but subsequent tries have brought out all the strange and lovely stuff going on.’
    • ‘What looks like a slow, dull session even for August, it is, under the circumstances, a grand achievement.’
    • ‘In fact, since the plodding dreariness is usually broken by bouts of howling misery, the slow points come as rather a pleasant respite.’
    • ‘They are dull, slow, sober and fearful characters with a weak pulse and a cowardly, slothful disposition.’
    • ‘Her right foot moved first, then her left, alternating in a rather boring and slow way.’
    • ‘So I needed something that wasn't so slow, dull or trivial.’
    • ‘I found the film to be slow, dull, and ultimately unengaging.’
    • ‘I know several IT managers who are neither dull, slow nor reactive.’
    • ‘It is a long film at 132 minutes, but the story does not feel slow or dull at any point.’
    • ‘It's been very slow and dull day, but it hasn't been boring.’
    • ‘And soon breakfast and the beautiful fact that Thomas is slow, quiet and dull in the mornings.’
    • ‘I recognise that this has been a rather slow and dull debate to this point.’
    dull, boring, uninteresting, unexciting, uneventful, tedious, tiresome, wearisome, dry, as dry as dust, monotonous, plodding, tame, dreary, lacklustre
    quiet, sleepy, unprogressive, behind the times, backward, backwoods, backwater
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 (of business) with little activity; slack.
      ‘sales were slow’
      • ‘I asked if they were mad at me, and they said I drove people to and from the airport like a champ, but that business was slow.’
      • ‘Reyes knew his life savings wouldn't last long - especially since business was slow in taking off.’
      • ‘For two months afterwards, business was very slow.’
      • ‘He works in the Continental Shoemakers' factory and sneaks away to write poetry when business is slow.’
      • ‘Business is slow, so she's practicing on Akiko's daughter, Natsuko.’
      • ‘Since it is the night shift and business is usually slow during those hours, you will be working alone.’
      • ‘Suppose, for example, that you own a small job shop, and business is slow.’
      • ‘Business was slow as all the kids were either in school or supposed to be.’
      • ‘I feel kind of hungover and toward the end of the year, business is slow.’
      • ‘The managing owner told the investing owner that business was just slow, but the restaurant seemed as busy as ever.’
      • ‘There are plenty of bars in the park but business is slow.’
      • ‘They drive a taxi to support their extended family, but business is slow, they said, with the Palestinian economy in tatters.’
      • ‘The strain of the loss of income and the cost of having to set up housekeeping again was compounded by the fact that the portrait business was slow.’
      • ‘Even so, business was slow and the phone only rang a few times Monday.’
      • ‘Bars and hotels that closed for lack of customers at the height of the outbreak also have begun to reopen, though many say business is still slow.’
      • ‘Back in the private area, as we waited for a new song to begin, I asked if business was slow.’
      • ‘Fitness vacations were still an anomaly, and business was slow at first.’
      • ‘After a long struggle to secure a location on campus, the farmers' market has been plagued with slow business and advertising woes.’
      • ‘Since business is slow, the woman has time to be intrigued by the mystery.’
      • ‘She said though business was slow for the past few years, it recently picked due to higher yields experienced in Zambia.’
      sluggish, slack, quiet, slow-moving, not busy, inactive, flat, depressed, stagnant, dead
      View synonyms
  • 5Photography
    (of a film) needing long exposure.

    • ‘My film was too slow, and I didn't get any good pictures.’
    • ‘This in turn and the slow film, will require longer exposures - hence the tripod.’
    • ‘I switched my flashguns off and held my camera steady for a slow shutter exposure.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 5.1 (of a lens) having a small aperture.
      • ‘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’
    • ‘After being boiled on slow fire for 24 hours, the soup was heavy and tasty, with nothing added but a secret combination of herbs.’
    • ‘Place the tikkis on the tava and cook on a slow fire, sprinkling oil/ghee at intervals.’
    • ‘Roast chicken legs in a slow oven until the flesh falls off the bone when pressed.’
    • ‘Roast one sweet potato with the skin in a slow oven until the potato is soft.’
    • ‘Lau, who has over 20 years of experience as a chef, said each soup is simmered on a slow fire for more than 10 hours.’
    • ‘The seeds would then be sun dried or parched over a slow fire to crack open the hulls to then be threshed by trampling.’
    • ‘Whisk this sharply over a very slow fire, until it assumes the appearance of a light frothy custard.’
    • ‘The pomelo pit can be pounded into small pieces, and then boiled on a slow fire to extract the medicinal essence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The ingredients were placed in a large cauldron and cooked over a slow fire for a whole afternoon until it turned into a pot of delicious soup.’
    • ‘Braise the pear on a slow fire until the crystal sugar melts.’
    • ‘Back from the pub after a drink with Mr FM to the wonderful smell of stew cooking in the slow oven of the Aga.’
    • ‘Add rice, fry well, add salt and water, cover and cook on a slow flame, till the water is absorbed.’
    • ‘Rice, meat, and vegetables are placed in huge containers covered with hot charcoals and heated by slow fire underneath.’
    • ‘Add the flour, salt, chilli, and turmeric and fry on a slow fire till the flour is well roasted.’
    • ‘Put all the above ingredients in a large utensil and stir on slow fire for two to three hours.’
    • ‘Add the other two ingredients and boil on a slow fire until soft.’
    • ‘This is evaporated and coagulated by slow heating, often carried to the point at which the product is quite dry and crumbly.’
    • ‘Boil milk and fry vermicelli in remaining clarified butter gently on slow heat till golden brown.’
    • ‘Allow to simmer on a slow fire till the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan.’


  • At a slow pace; slowly.

    ‘the train went slower and slower’
    in combination ‘a slow-moving river’
    • ‘The day starts slow paced and builds momentum steadily.’
    • ‘Rick looked up at the ship, it was moving too slow and too late, it might get off some shots but not enough to stop them or to get the breach out of the way.’
    • ‘James was bringing the ball down, slow paced as he waited for his teammates to set up.’
    • ‘Chris moved over to Jimmy slow and cat-like, grabbing him by the chin and studying him for a moment.’
    • ‘Palmer, meanwhile, is moving slow and cautiously through the city looking for a safe location where he can hide.’
    • ‘Move in slow with your face towards hers and slightly tilt your head so you don't bump noses.’
    • ‘Traffic was slow-paced with incidences of minor accidents.’
    • ‘Mexico said that the great delays that had arisen in this matter were the result of the slow-paced justice in the courts.’
    • ‘I began firing into them, and they seemed to be moving so slow and then the rest of the company joined me.’
    • ‘When he didn't get sex, he always seemed to move slow and disappointedly.’
    • ‘She hadn't dated much, so we were moving really slow compared to what I was used to.’
    • ‘Starting slow and slowly speeding up, T.'s freestyle was almost splash-less.’
    • ‘A waitress covers their white tablecloth with steaming chops and chicken, then moves off in a slow two-cycle walk for the rest of us.’


[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’
    • ‘The last surveillance car was calling out the last few moves, the target car was slowing, it stopped.’
    • ‘If anyone cuts in front of you, the car slows to the pre-set safe distance then speeds up again once the vehicle moves out of the way.’
    • ‘One of the minders gives a warning shout, and moments later, a police cruiser slows to a halt at the compound gate.’
    • ‘Then as it came close, the car slowed and, on overtaking me, pulled gently to a halt.’
    • ‘He stirs himself as the train slows, ready to catch up with her.’
    • ‘The car slows to a stop in front of the house and the engine falls silent.’
    • ‘The bus slows to a crawl, attempting to negotiate narrow streets, taxis and endless traffic lights.’
    • ‘Marianne remembers the train slowing and the cattle doors being slung open.’
    • ‘The police car then slows to a halt, forcing the errant vehicle to slow with it.’
    • ‘The car's slowing and I gulp in horror as it stops, right beside the bush I'm hidden behind.’
    • ‘Cars slowing and turning into the nursery's car park would slow traffic on Leeds Road’
    • ‘As the car slowed outside the hotel, mum pointed it out to dad, saying that we had stayed there the last time.’
    • ‘Just in time, I release the rope, the sail flows out and the boat slows.’
    • ‘His motorbike is believed to have collided with the rear of two cars that had slowed so a third could turn into a farm.’
    • ‘I knocked it out and jumped out as the vehicle was slowing in traffic.’
    • ‘She declined, pulled up the door lock on her side and, as the car slowed, scrambled out.’
    • ‘All I saw in the accident was a lot of mess and cars slowing everywhere.’
    • ‘At that, the train slows to a stop, and then starts moving in reverse.’
    • ‘Lights turn to red, and my taxi slows to a halt in a quiet Notting Hill street.’
    • ‘The auto slowed, the driver checked his watch and a car full of men came from an empty side street as if on cue.’
    reduce speed, go slower, decelerate, lessen one's speed, brake, put the brakes on, slack off
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1slow down/up Live or work less actively or intensely.
      ‘I wasn't feeling well and had to slow down’
      • ‘Matt told her as he slowed down to rest a little, he was out of shape.’
      • ‘They start a chemical reaction in your brain - they tell you to slow down and relax.’
      • ‘And lot of people are sort of afraid to put more money on the table which slows down growth.’
      • ‘It slows down the good employers and ignores the bad he says.’
      • ‘Traditionally the internet slows down to a trickle, since everybody who is not on the street is likely to be online.’
      • ‘Don't ask for opinions from the participants - it slows up the process.’
      • ‘At night, as the user sleeps, the pulse can slow down to such a point that their heart just stops working.’
      • ‘This process currently slows down and limits the amount of data that can be transmitted along fibre-optic networks.’
      • ‘Jo told me it is important to keep active to slow down the progression of my condition.’
      • ‘While the rest of Bulgaria slows down, they may be able to catch up some ground.’
      take it easy, relax, ease off, ease up, take a break, take some time off, slack off
      View synonyms


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 (or and) sure

    • Not quick but achieving the required result eventually.

      ‘a slow but sure increase in the price of gold’
      • ‘He was slow but sure, and he always got there in the end.’
      • ‘Improvement had been slow but sure, although she was still vomiting and having bad nightmares regularly.’
      • ‘I chose a stately breaststroke, slow but sure, that meant I could keep an eye on our target.’
      • ‘So now - we'll get there slow but sure.’
      • ‘It's a project that's been in the works for 2 years, going slow but sure.’
      • ‘Hearing nothing they continued on, their steps slow and sure, not making a sound.’
      • ‘This drug started to run its course slow but sure.’
      • ‘Brian took the animal home and the recovery has been slow but sure.’
      • ‘Trying to keep the bike as still as possible, he kicked off and despite Isabel's woozy protestations, they made it to her dorm with slow but sure progress.’
      • ‘People, slow but sure, are becoming more and more tolerable of different faiths, cultures, and races.’


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