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”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /sləʊθ/
Audio (UK) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /slɔθ/
- (cot–caught merger, Canada) IPA(key): /slɑθ/
- (General New Zealand) IPA(key): /slɒθ/
- Rhymes: -əʊθ, -ɒθ
- (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.
- (countable) A herbivorous, arboreal South American mammal of the families Megalonychidae and Bradypodidae, noted for its slowness and inactivity.
- (rare) A collective term for a group of bears.
Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins.
- (animal): tardigrade
- (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,
- […] 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,
- 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.
- sloth in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- sloth in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.