Etymology: Middle English, from Old English slāw; akin to Old High German slēo dull
Date: before 12th century
a. mentally dull ; stupid <a slow student> b. naturally inert or sluggish 2. a. lacking in readiness, promptness, or willingness b. not hasty or precipitate <was slow to anger> 3. a. moving, flowing, or proceeding without speed or at less than usual speed <traffic was slow> b. exhibiting or marked by low speed <he moved with slow deliberation> c. not acute <a slow disease> d. low, gentle <slow fire> 4. requiring a long time ; gradual <a slow recovery> 5. having qualities that hinder rapid progress or action <a slow track> 6. a. registering behind or below what is correct <the clock is slow> b. less than the time indicated by another method of reckoning c. that is behind the time at a specified time or place 7. a. lacking in life, animation, or gaiety ; boring <the first chapter is a bit slow> b. marked by reduced activity <business was slow> <a slow news week> • slowish adjective • slowness noun II. adverb Date: 15th century slowly Usage: Some commentators claim that careful writers avoid the adverb slow, in spite of the fact that it has had over four centuries of usage <have a continent forbearance till the speed of his rage goes slower — Shakespeare>. In actual practice, slow and slowly are not used in quite the same way. Slow is almost always used with verbs that denote movement or action, and it regularly follows the verb it modifies <beans…are best cooked long and slow — Louise Prothro>. Slowly is used before the verb <a sense of outrage, which slowly changed to shame — Paul Horgan> and with participial adjectives <a slowly dawning awareness…of the problem — American Labor>. Slowly is used after verbs where slow might also be used <burn slow or slowly> and after verbs where slow would be unidiomatic <the leadership turned slowly toward bombing as a means of striking back — David Halberstam>. III. verb Date: 1557 transitive verb to make slow or slower ; slacken the speed of <slow a car> — often used with down or up intransitive verb to go or become slower <production of new cars slowed sharply> Synonyms: see delay
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.