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slug +‎ -ish


  • IPA(key): /ˈslʌɡɪʃ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌɡɪʃ


sluggish (comparative sluggisher or more sluggish, superlative sluggishest or most sluggish)

  1. Habitually idle and lazy; slothful; dull; inactive
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:lazy
    a sluggish man
    • 1724, Pharmacopolæ Justificati: Or, Apothecaries Vindicated from the Imputation of Ignorance. [], London: [] J. Roberts, [], →OCLC, page 6:
      [I]f he leaves the School poſſeſs'd of a ſluggiſh indolent Diſpoſition, and of Learning rather forc'd upon him than choſen, it is probable he will forget what he brought thence; but if he be active, emulous and aſpiring, he will certainly find Time for Reading and Thinking; for tho' it be a homely, it is a true Saying, that where there is a Will, there is a Way.
    • c. 1874, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ovid in Exile:
      And the sluggish land slumbers in utter neglect.
    • 1910 January 12, Ameen Rihani, “On the Wharf of Enchantment”, in The Book of Khalid, New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, published October 1911, →OCLC, book the first (In the Exchange), page 34:
      He helps us to understand the insignificant points which mark the rapid undercurrents of the seemingly sluggish soul of Khalid.
  2. Slow; having little motion.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:slow
    Antonym: nimble
    • 1604 March 25 (first performance; Gregorian calendar; published 1604), Beniamin Ionson [i.e., Ben Jonson], “Part of the Kings Entertainment in Passing to His Coronation [The Coronation Triumph]”, in The Workes of Beniamin Ionson (First Folio), London: [] Will[iam] Stansby, published 1616, →OCLC, page 850:
      Vp thou tame River, wake; / And from the liquid limbes this ſlumber ſhake: / Thou drownſ't thy ſelfe in inofficious ſleepe; / And theſe thy ſluggish waters ſeeme to creepe, / Rather than flow.
    • 1913, Paul Laurence Dunbar, At Sunset Time:
      We float upon a sluggish stream,
      We ride no rapids mad,
      While life is all a tempered dream
      And every joy half sad.
    • 1970, Robert M. Solow, Growth Theory: An Exposition, Oxford University Press, page 3:
      [T]he stock of capital is necessarily a sluggish time series, while output is capable of making wide swings in short intervals[.]
  3. Having no power to move oneself or itself; inert.
    • 1695, John Woodward, An Essay toward a Natural History of the Earth and Terrestrial Bodies:
      Matter, being impotent, sluggish, and inactive, hath no power to stir or move itself.
  4. Characteristic of a sluggard; dull; stupid; tame; simple.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:stupid
  5. Exhibiting economic decline, inactivity, slow, or subnormal growth.
    Inflation has been rising despite sluggish economy.
    • 2023 November 15, Tessa Wong, “Xi Jinping arrives in US as his Chinese Dream sputters”, in BBC[1]:
      After an initial bounce back, the post-Covid Chinese economy has turned sluggish. Its property market - once a key driver of growth - is now mired in a credit crisis, exacerbating a domestic "debt bomb" that has ballooned from years of borrowing by local government and state-owned enterprises.

Derived terms[edit]