27 Idioms for Slow: Describing a Sluggish Pace


Have you ever heard someone say, “You’re as slow as molasses”? Or maybe you’ve been called a “slowpoke” once or twice?

Idioms like these are used to describe slowness in a fun and creative way. In this article, we’ll explore a list of idioms for slow, helping you understand their meanings and providing examples of how to use them in sentences.

idioms for slow

What is an idiom for slow?

Idioms are phrases or expressions that have a different meaning than what the individual words suggest.

They often rely on cultural or historical context to be understood. Here, we’ll delve into idioms related to slowness and break down their meanings.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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IdiomMeaningExample Sentence
Slow as molassesExtremely slow; moving at a sluggish paceThe traffic in the city during rush hour was as slow as molasses.
Slow as a snailExceptionally slowHe was slow as a snail when it came to finishing his homework.
SlowpokeSomeone slow in actions or decision-makingCome on, don’t be such a slowpoke! We need to get going.
Slow and steady wins the raceConsistency leads to successHis slow and steady approach helped him win the marathon.
Slow as a turtleVery slow-movingThe line at the DMV was slow as a turtle; I had to wait for hours.
Slow as cold molasses in JanuaryPainfully slowThe old computer was slow as cold molasses in January.
Slow as a glacierMoving at a glacial paceChanges in bureaucracy often happen as slow as a glacier.
Slow as a slothEmphasizing laziness and slownessOn weekends, I like to be as slow as a sloth, taking my time.
Slow as a slugExtremely sluggishThe internet connection was slow as a slug, impossible to stream.
Slow as a dodoDescribing something or someone outdatedUsing a typewriter feels as slow as a dodo in the digital age.
Slow as a herd of turtlesEmphasizing extreme slownessThe group’s progress was as slow as a herd of turtles.
Slow as a tortoiseSlow and steady paceHis writing progress was slow as a tortoise, but he finished.
Slow as a cow in laborPainfully slowThe construction seemed as slow as a cow in labor, causing delays.
Slow as a three-toed slothStressing extreme slownessThe administrative process was as slow as a three-toed sloth.
Slow as a garden snailVery slow-movingThe line at the amusement park was slow as a garden snail.
Slow as a wet weekEmphasizing an extended period of slownessWaiting for her response felt as slow as a wet week.
Slow as treacleExtremely slowThe bureaucracy was as slow as treacle, frustrating citizens.
Slow as a weary travelerSlow due to weariness or exhaustionAfter work, he climbed the stairs as slow as a weary traveler.
Slow as a sloth in syrupEmphasizing extreme slowness humorouslyThe computer’s response time was slow as a sloth in syrup.
Slow as a steamroller in a traffic jamEmphasizing extreme slowness humorouslyGetting through airport security felt as slow as a steamroller.
Slow as ChristmasReferring to something as slow as the holiday seasonThe package’s arrival was as slow as Christmas.
Slow as an old dogSlow due to age or lack of energyThe car, though reliable, was slow as an old dog in acceleration.
Slow as a Sunday driveSlower than usualThe construction progress was slow as a Sunday drive.
Slow as a week in jailAgonizingly slow periodWaiting for the test results felt as slow as a week in jail.
Slow as a constipated tortoiseEmphasizing extreme slowness humorouslyThe internet speed was as slow as a constipated tortoise.
Slow as a tired tortoise in a turtleneck sweaterPlayfully emphasizing slownessHis movements were as slow as a tired tortoise in a turtleneck sweater.
Slow as a sleeping elephantExtremely slow-movingThe progress on the construction site was as slow as a sleeping elephant.

Slow is like a snail’s pace, where progress inches forward at a leisurely and deliberate tempo, as if time itself has decided to take a breather. For more comparisons to describe slowness, you can check this link: Similes for slow. And for a variety of metaphors related to slowness, you can explore this link: Metaphors for slow.

Idioms for Slow

1. Slow as molasses

Meaning: Extremely slow; moving at a very sluggish pace.

In a Sentence: The traffic in the city during rush hour was as slow as molasses, and it took hours to get home.

2. Slow as a snail

Meaning: Moving at the pace of a snail, which is exceptionally slow.

In a Sentence: He was slow as a snail when it came to finishing his homework, always taking his time.

3. Slowpoke

Meaning: A term used to describe someone who is slow in their actions or decision-making.

In a Sentence: Come on, don’t be such a slowpoke! We need to get going if we want to catch the movie on time.

4. Slow and steady wins the race

Meaning: Emphasizes that being methodical and consistent, even if slow, can lead to success in the end.

In a Sentence: While he wasn’t the fastest runner, his slow and steady approach helped him win the marathon.

5. Slow as a turtle

Meaning: Describing someone or something that moves very slowly, akin to the pace of a turtle.

In a Sentence: The line at the DMV was moving as slow as a turtle, and I had to wait for hours.

6. Slow as cold molasses in January

Meaning: Extremely and painfully slow; emphasizing the slowness even further.

In a Sentence: The old computer was slow as cold molasses in January, and it took forever to load anything.

7. Slow as a glacier

Meaning: Comparing something to the pace of a glacier, which moves incredibly slowly over time.

In a Sentence: Changes in the bureaucracy often happen as slow as a glacier, frustrating many.

8. Slow as a sloth

Meaning: Emphasizing the laziness and slowness of an action or individual, like the famously slow-moving sloth.

In a Sentence: On weekends, I like to be as slow as a sloth, taking my time to relax.

9. Slow as a slug

Meaning: Referring to someone or something that is moving at an exceptionally sluggish pace.

In a Sentence: The internet connection was slow as a slug, making it impossible to stream videos.

10. Slow as a dodo

Meaning: Describing something or someone as obsolete and outdated, just like the extinct dodo bird.

In a Sentence: Using a typewriter in the digital age feels as slow as a dodo.

11. Slow as a herd of turtles

Meaning: Highlighting extreme slowness by comparing it to a group of turtles moving together.

In a Sentence: The group’s progress through the dense forest was as slow as a herd of turtles.

12. Slow as a tortoise

Meaning: Comparing something or someone to the pace of a tortoise, which is known for being slow and steady.

In a Sentence: His writing progress was slow as a tortoise, but he eventually finished the novel.

13. Slow as a cow in labor

Meaning: Emphasizing an excruciatingly slow pace, often used humorously.

In a Sentence: The construction of the new bridge seemed as slow as a cow in labor, causing traffic delays for months.

14. Slow as a three-toed sloth

Meaning: Stressing extreme slowness by comparing it to the leisurely pace of a three-toed sloth.

In a Sentence: The administrative process was as slow as a three-toed sloth, frustrating everyone involved.

15. Slow as a garden snail

Meaning: Describing something or someone moving at a snail’s pace, which is very slow.

In a Sentence: The line at the amusement park moved as slow as a garden snail on a rainy day.

16. Slow as a wet week

Meaning: Emphasizing an extended period of slowness, akin to a week of continuous rain.

In a Sentence: Waiting for her to respond to my message felt as slow as a wet week.

17. Slow as treacle

Meaning: Referring to something or someone moving at an extremely slow pace, like thick treacle syrup.

In a Sentence: The bureaucracy of the government was as slow as treacle, frustrating citizens.

18. Slow as a weary traveler

Meaning: Describing someone or something that moves slowly due to exhaustion or weariness.

In a Sentence: After a long day at work, he climbed the stairs to his apartment as slow as a weary traveler.

19. Slow as a sloth in syrup

Meaning: Stressing an exceptionally slow pace by combining two slow elements – a sloth and syrup.

In a Sentence: The computer’s response time was as slow as a sloth in syrup, making work unbearable.

20. Slow as a steamroller in a traffic jam

Meaning: Highlighting an unusually slow pace by combining two slow scenarios – a steamroller and a traffic jam.

In a Sentence: Getting through the airport security line felt as slow as a steamroller in a traffic jam.

21. Slow as Christmas

Meaning: Referring to something or someone moving at a pace as slow as the holiday season.

In a Sentence: The arrival of the package was as slow as Christmas, and I couldn’t wait any longer.

22. Slow as an old dog

Meaning: Describing something or someone as moving slowly due to old age or lack of energy.

In a Sentence: The car, though reliable, was as slow as an old dog when it came to acceleration.

23. Slow as a Sunday drive

Meaning: Comparing something to the leisurely pace of a Sunday drive, which is often slower than usual.

In a Sentence: The progress on the construction site was as slow as a Sunday drive on a country road.

24. Slow as a week in jail

Meaning: Stressing an agonizingly slow period of time by comparing it to a week spent in jail.

In a Sentence: Waiting for the test results felt as slow as a week in jail, filled with anxiety.

25. Slow as a constipated tortoise

Meaning: Emphasizing extreme slowness with a humorous touch, likening it to a constipated tortoise.

In a Sentence: The internet speed was as slow as a constipated tortoise, causing frustration among users.

26. Slow as a tired tortoise in a turtleneck sweater

Meaning: Playfully emphasizing slowness by adding the image of a tired tortoise in a turtleneck sweater.

In a Sentence: After a long day, his movements were as slow as a tired tortoise in a turtleneck sweater.

27. Slow as a sleeping elephant

Meaning: Describing something or someone moving at an extremely slow pace, like a sleeping elephant.

In a Sentence: The progress on the construction site was as slow as a sleeping elephant, but it eventually got completed.

Quizzes About The Idioms in The Article

Here are 10 quiz questions about the idioms for slow mentioned in the article:

Quiz 1: Slow as Molasses

  1. What does the idiom “Slow as molasses” mean?
    a) Moving quickly
    b) Moving at a sluggish pace
    c) Moving at the speed of light

Quiz 2: Slow as a Snail

  1. What does the expression “Slow as a snail” suggest?
    a) Moving very fast
    b) Moving at an exceptionally slow pace
    c) Moving like a sprinter

Quiz 3: What Does “Slowpoke” Mean?

  1. How would you define the term “Slowpoke”?
    a) Someone who is quick to make decisions
    b) Someone who is slow in their actions or decision-making
    c) Someone who is always in a hurry

Quiz 4: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

  1. What message does the idiom “Slow and steady wins the race” convey?
    a) Speed is essential for success
    b) Consistency and persistence lead to success
    c) Rushing is the key to winning

Quiz 5: Slow as a Turtle

  1. How would you describe something or someone that is “Slow as a turtle”?
    a) Exceptionally fast
    b) Very slow-moving
    c) As quick as lightning

Quiz 6: Slow as Cold Molasses in January

  1. What is emphasized by the idiom “Slow as cold molasses in January”?
    a) Fast-paced action
    b) Painfully slow movement
    c) Moderate speed

Quiz 7: Slow as a Sloth

  1. What aspect of slowness is stressed by the phrase “Slow as a sloth”?
    a) Quickness
    b) Laziness and slowness
    c) Rapid movement

Quiz 8: Slow as a Slug

  1. How would you describe something that is “Slow as a slug”?
    a) Moving at an exceptionally fast pace
    b) Moving at an extremely sluggish pace
    c) Moving smoothly and swiftly

Quiz 9: Slow as a Dodo

  1. What does it mean when something is described as “Slow as a dodo”?
    a) Modern and efficient
    b) Outdated and slow
    c) Quick and agile

Quiz 10: Slow as a Herd of Turtles

  1. What does the expression “Slow as a herd of turtles” emphasize?
    a) Rapid progress
    b) Extreme slowness
    c) Effortless speed

Feel free to use these quiz questions to test your knowledge or the knowledge of others about the idioms related to slowness discussed in the article.

Conclusion

Idioms for slow add a creative and often humorous touch to our language when describing slowness. From comparing someone’s pace to molasses or snails to playfully exaggerating with phrases like “slow as a constipated tortoise,” these expressions make our conversations more colorful.

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