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See also: slóð


English Wikipedia has an article on:
A sloth (2)

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English slouthe, slewthe (laziness), from Old English slǣwþ (sloth, indolence, laziness, inertness, torpor), from Proto-Germanic *slaiwiþō (slowness, lateness), equivalent to slow +‎ -th. Cognate with Scots sleuth (sloth, slowness).



sloth (countable and uncountable, plural sloths)

  1. (uncountable) Laziness; slowness in the mindset; disinclination to action or labour.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 10”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 787–792:
      Who having ſpilt much blood, and don much waſte / Subduing Nations, and achievd thereby / Fame in the World, high titles, and rich prey, / Shall change thir courſe to pleaſure, eaſe, and ſloth, / Surfet, and luſt, till wantonneſs and pride / Raiſe out of friendſhip hoſtil deeds in Peace.
    • 1758, Benjamin Franklin, Preliminary Address to the Pennsylvania Almanac
      Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears.
  2. (countable) A herbivorous, arboreal South American mammal of the families Megalonychidae and Bradypodidae, noted for its slowness and inactivity.
  3. (rare) A collective term for a group of bears.

Usage notes[edit]

Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins.



Derived terms[edit]

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sloth (third-person singular simple present sloths, present participle slothing, simple past and past participle slothed)

  1. (obsolete, intransitive, transitive) To be idle; to idle (away time).
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Gower to this entry?)
    • 1676, John Bunyan, The Strait Gate, or, Great Difficulty of Going to Heaven, London: Francis Smith, p. 69,[1]
      [] the most of professors are for imbezzeling, mispending and slothing away their time, their talents, their opportunities to do good in []
    • 1677, Hannah Woolley, The Compleat Servant-Maid, London: T. Passinger, p. 2,[2]
      That you endeavour carefully to please your Lady, Master or Mistress, be faithful, diligent and submissive to them, encline not to sloth or laze in bed, but rise early in a morning.

Further reading[edit]