30 Metaphors for Slow: The Art of Slowness


In a world that seems to be constantly on the fast track, it’s easy to forget the beauty and significance of slowing down. Life can often feel like a high-speed roller coaster, but there’s a certain charm to taking things slow.

We are here to explore the fascinating realm of metaphors for slow, a journey that will help you appreciate the art of slowness in various aspects of life.

Moving slowly is like watching a snail crawl, taking its time to reach its destination. For more similes related to “slow,” you can check out this resource: Similes for Slow. Additionally, if you’re interested in idioms associated with “slow,” you can explore them here: Idioms for Slow.

What is a Metaphor for Slow?

Metaphors are powerful linguistic tools that help us understand complex ideas by comparing them to simpler, more familiar concepts.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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What is a simile?

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Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

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What is a metaphor?

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Which of the following is a metaphor?

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What is an idiom?

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What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

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What is an adjective?

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Choose the adjective in the following sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

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What does the abbreviation “e.g.” stand for?

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Identify the verb in the following sentence: “The cat sleeps on the sofa.”

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“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

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Which of the following is an adjective?

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The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

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Choose the metaphor in the following sentence: “Time is a thief.”

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What does the idiom “hit the books” mean?

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Which of the following sentences contains a simile?

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“LOL” is an abbreviation for:

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Identify the verb in this sentence: “They whispered secrets into the night.”

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When it comes to expressing the notion of slowness, we’ve got a treasure trove of metaphors at our disposal.

Each of these metaphors provides a unique perspective on what it means to move at a deliberate, unhurried pace.

Here is a summary table of the metaphors for slow along with their meanings and example sentences:

MetaphorMeaningExample Sentence
Snail’s PaceMoving very slowly, like a snail.The traffic in the city during rush hour moves at a snail’s pace.
Molasses in JanuaryExtremely slow, as if moving through freezing molasses.Trying to get my computer to load that massive file felt like wading through molasses in January.
Moving at a CrawlProgressing slowly, like crawling on hands and knees.The project was moving at a crawl, with delays at every turn.
Like Watching Paint DryRefers to an excruciatingly slow and tedious process.Waiting for the results felt like watching paint dry; the anticipation was unbearable.
Running in Slow MotionMoving at an exceptionally reduced speed.As I approached the finish line, it felt like I was running in slow motion, savoring every second of the race.
Slower than a TortoiseSlower than a tortoise, symbolizing a leisurely pace.The old computer was slower than a tortoise, making even simple tasks a test of patience.
Glacial PaceProgressing at an extremely sluggish and gradual rate.The bureaucracy in this government office operates at a glacial pace; you might as well bring a sleeping bag.
Inch by InchProgressing with the smallest possible steps.With determination, she made her way up the steep hill, inch by inch, until she reached the summit.
Sluggish as a SlothSlower than a sloth, known for its unhurried movements.The morning traffic made my commute feel as sluggish as a sloth on a Monday.
Treading Through MudProgressing with great difficulty, like walking through mud.Trying to get this project off the ground has been like treading through mud; every step feels heavy.
Like a Snail on TranquilizersMoving even slower than a regular snail.The postal service’s delivery speed felt like a snail on tranquilizers, testing the patience of many.
At a Leisurely StrollMoving slowly and comfortably, like a relaxed walk.They explored the quaint village at a leisurely stroll, enjoying the charm of every cobblestone street.
Like a Sleepy SlothMoving at a pace reminiscent of a sleepy sloth.The hot summer day made everyone move like a sleepy sloth, seeking shade and respite from the heat.
Frozen in TimeSuggests a complete lack of movement.The old abandoned mansion appeared frozen in time, a relic of the past.
Going at a Snail’s TrotMoving slightly faster than a snail.The marathon runner was injured, so he decided to go at a snail’s trot to avoid any further harm.
Like a Slow-Burning FuseDescribes a gradual and deliberate progression.The tension in the room built up like a slow-burning fuse before the big announcement.
Like a Dripping FaucetSignifies a continuous, slow, and often irritating process.The constant delays and excuses from the contractor were like a dripping faucet, driving us to frustration.
Moving like a GlacierProgressing at an incredibly sluggish pace.The negotiations between the two countries were moving like a glacier, with no end in sight.
Like Wading Through MolassesDifficult to navigate, similar to thick molasses.Getting approval for the project from the committee felt like wading through molasses, filled with bureaucratic hurdles.
Taking the Scenic RouteOpting for a longer, more picturesque path.Instead of rushing through the road trip, they decided to take the scenic route, enjoying the breathtaking views along the way.
Like a Turtle Without a ShellMoving slowly and feeling vulnerable.After the breakup, he moved through life like a turtle without a shell, exposed and cautious.
Cautiously Tip-ToeingMoving with extreme care and caution.She entered the room cautiously tip-toeing, trying not to wake the sleeping baby.
As Slow as a Herd of TurtlesCollective slowness of a group or process.The group’s decision-making process was as slow as a herd of turtles, with endless discussions and debates.
Like a Rusted ClockSomething so slow it’s almost non-functional.The old computer was like a rusted clock, barely keeping up with the demands of modern software.
Slower than a Three-Toed SlothExceptionally slow pace.The progress on the construction site was slower than a three-toed sloth, causing frustration among the workers.
Dragging One’s FeetMoving reluctantly or with a lack of enthusiasm.He was dragging his feet when it came to making a decision about his career, unsure of what to do next.
Like a Steamroller on ReverseMoving backward, opposite to a steamroller.The project’s progress felt like a steamroller on reverse, going backward instead of forward.
Going at a Sloth’s PaceMoving as slowly as a sloth.The bureaucratic paperwork had us going at a sloth’s pace, drowning in red tape.
Moving like a Glacier’s EdgeProgressing at the pace of a glacier’s outer edge.The debate on the new policy was moving like a glacier’s edge, with no consensus in sight.
At a Snail’s CrawlMoving at an exceptionally slow pace.The traffic jam had us moving at a snail’s crawl, inching forward every few minutes.
metaphors for slow

Metaphors for Slow

1. Snail’s Pace

Meaning: Moving very slowly, often at the pace of a snail, known for its leisurely crawl.

In a Sentence: The traffic in the city during rush hour moves at a snail’s pace, making you wish for teleportation.

2. Molasses in January

Meaning: Extremely slow, as if something were moving through thick, freezing molasses during the coldest month of the year.

In a Sentence: Trying to get my computer to load that massive file felt like wading through molasses in January.

3. Moving at a Crawl

Meaning: Progressing slowly, like the deliberate and cautious movement of someone crawling on their hands and knees.

In a Sentence: The project was moving at a crawl, with delays at every turn.

4. Like Watching Paint Dry

Meaning: Refers to an excruciatingly slow and tedious process, similar to the drying of paint.

In a Sentence: Waiting for the results felt like watching paint dry; the anticipation was unbearable.

5. Running in Slow Motion

Meaning: Moving at an exceptionally reduced speed, as if everything around you has slowed down.

In a Sentence: As I approached the finish line, it felt like I was running in slow motion, savoring every second of the race.

6. Slower than a Tortoise

Meaning: Slower than the famously slow-moving tortoise, which symbolizes a leisurely pace.

In a Sentence: The old computer was slower than a tortoise, making even simple tasks a test of patience.

7. Glacial Pace

Meaning: Progressing at an extremely sluggish and gradual rate, comparable to the slow movement of a glacier.

In a Sentence: The bureaucracy in this government office operates at a glacial pace; you might as well bring a sleeping bag.

8. Inch by Inch

Meaning: Progressing with the smallest possible steps, as if advancing one inch at a time.

In a Sentence: With determination, she made her way up the steep hill, inch by inch, until she reached the summit.

9. Sluggish as a Sloth

Meaning: Slower than a sloth, which is known for its unhurried, lazy movements.

In a Sentence: The morning traffic made my commute feel as sluggish as a sloth on a Monday.

10. Treading Through Mud

Meaning: Progressing with great difficulty and slowness, as if walking through thick, sticky mud.

In a Sentence: Trying to get this project off the ground has been like treading through mud; every step feels heavy.

11. Like a Snail on Tranquilizers

Meaning: Describes an even slower pace than that of a regular snail, as if it were moving under the influence of tranquilizers.

In a Sentence: The postal service’s delivery speed felt like a snail on tranquilizers, testing the patience of many.

12. At a Leisurely Stroll

Meaning: Moving slowly and comfortably, as if taking a relaxed walk with no urgency.

In a Sentence: They explored the quaint village at a leisurely stroll, enjoying the charm of every cobblestone street.

13. Like a Sleepy Sloth

Meaning: Moving at a pace reminiscent of a sloth that is half-asleep and unhurried.

In a Sentence: The hot summer day made everyone move like a sleepy sloth, seeking shade and respite from the heat.

14. Frozen in Time

Meaning: Suggests a complete lack of movement, as if time has come to a standstill.

In a Sentence: The old abandoned mansion appeared frozen in time, a relic of the past.

15. Going at a Snail’s Trot

Meaning: Moving slightly faster than a snail but still at a notably slow pace.

In a Sentence: The marathon runner was injured, so he decided to go at a snail’s trot to avoid any further harm.

16. Like a Slow-Burning Fuse

Meaning: Describes a gradual and deliberate progression, like the slow burn of a fuse leading to an explosion.

In a Sentence: The tension in the room built up like a slow-burning fuse before the big announcement.

17. Like a Dripping Faucet

Meaning: Signifies a continuous, slow, and often irritating process, similar to the steady drip of water from a faucet.

In a Sentence: The constant delays and excuses from the contractor were like a dripping faucet, driving us to frustration.

18. Moving like a Glacier

Meaning: Progressing at an incredibly sluggish pace, akin to the movement of a massive glacier.

In a Sentence: The negotiations between the two countries were moving like a glacier, with no end in sight.

19. Like Wading Through Molasses

Meaning: Suggests that the task or situation is difficult to navigate, much like trying to move through thick molasses.

In a Sentence: Getting approval for the project from the committee felt like wading through molasses, filled with bureaucratic hurdles.

20. Taking the Scenic Route

Meaning: Opting for a longer, more picturesque path, often associated with a slower journey.

In a Sentence: Instead of rushing through the road trip, they decided to take the scenic route, enjoying the breathtaking views along the way.

21. Like a Turtle Without a Shell

Meaning: Moving slowly and feeling vulnerable, as if lacking the protective covering of a turtle’s shell.

In a Sentence: After the breakup, he moved through life like a turtle without a shell, exposed and cautious.

22. Cautiously Tip-Toeing

Meaning: Moving with extreme care and caution, similar to how one would tiptoe around to avoid making noise.

In a Sentence: She entered the room cautiously tip-toeing, trying not to wake the sleeping baby.

23. As Slow as a Herd of Turtles

Meaning: Describes a collective slowness, emphasizing the slow pace of a group or process.

In a Sentence: The group’s decision-making process was as slow as a herd of turtles, with endless discussions and debates.

24. Like a Rusted Clock

Meaning: Suggests that something is so slow that it has become almost non-functional, like a clock covered in rust.

In a Sentence: The old computer was like a rusted clock, barely keeping up with the demands of modern software.

25. Slower than a Three-Toed Sloth

Meaning: Signifies an exceptionally slow pace, emphasizing the slowness of a three-toed sloth.

In a Sentence: The progress on the construction site was slower than a three-toed sloth, causing frustration among the workers.

26. Dragging One’s Feet

Meaning: Moving reluctantly or with a lack of enthusiasm, often resulting in a slower pace.

In a Sentence: He was dragging his feet when it came to making a decision about his career, unsure of what to do next.

27. Like a Steamroller on Reverse

Meaning: Moving in the opposite direction of a steamroller, which typically moves slowly and deliberately.

In a Sentence: The project’s progress felt like a steamroller on reverse, going backward instead of forward.

28. Going at a Sloth’s Pace

Meaning: Moving as slowly as a sloth, known for its unhurried and deliberate movements.

In a Sentence: The bureaucratic paperwork had us going at a sloth’s pace, drowning in red tape.

29. Moving like a Glacier’s Edge

Meaning: Progressing at the pace of the outer edge of a glacier, which is known to move slowly.

In a Sentence: The debate on the new policy was moving like a glacier’s edge, with no consensus in sight.

30. At a Snail’s Crawl

Meaning: Moving at an exceptionally slow pace, akin to the leisurely crawl of a snail.

In a Sentence: The traffic jam had us moving at a snail’s crawl, inching forward every few minutes.

Here are 10 quiz questions related to the metaphors discussed in the article:

  1. Question: What does the metaphor “Molasses in January” signify?
    • A) Extremely fast movement
    • B) Slower than molasses in January
    • C) Moving at a comfortable pace
    • D) Rapid decision-making
    Answer: B) Slower than molasses in January
  2. Question: Which metaphor is used to describe a situation that feels like it’s progressing very slowly and tediously?
    • A) Like Watching Paint Dry
    • B) Running in Slow Motion
    • C) Treading Through Mud
    • D) At a Leisurely Stroll
    Answer: A) Like Watching Paint Dry
  3. Question: What does the metaphor “Frozen in Time” suggest?
    • A) Rapid progress
    • B) No movement at all
    • C) Consistent pace
    • D) Continuous improvement
    Answer: B) No movement at all
  4. Question: Which metaphor is used to describe moving with great care and caution?
    • A) Slower than a Three-Toed Sloth
    • B) Cautiously Tip-Toeing
    • C) Like Wading Through Molasses
    • D) Like a Dripping Faucet
    Answer: B) Cautiously Tip-Toeing
  5. Question: What does the metaphor “Taking the Scenic Route” suggest?
    • A) Choosing the fastest path
    • B) Opting for a longer but more picturesque path
    • C) Rushing through a journey
    • D) Making hasty decisions
    Answer: B) Opting for a longer but more picturesque path
  6. Question: Which metaphor emphasizes a collective slowness of a group or process?
    • A) Like a Slow-Burning Fuse
    • B) As Slow as a Herd of Turtles
    • C) Like a Rusted Clock
    • D) Moving like a Glacier’s Edge
    Answer: B) As Slow as a Herd of Turtles
  7. Question: What does the metaphor “Dragging One’s Feet” indicate?
    • A) Moving swiftly
    • B) Reluctance and slowness
    • C) Enthusiastic progress
    • D) Sudden acceleration
    Answer: B) Reluctance and slowness
  8. Question: Which metaphor implies moving backward, opposite to the usual direction?
    • A) Like a Steamroller on Reverse
    • B) Going at a Sloth’s Pace
    • C) Inch by Inch
    • D) Slower than a Tortoise
    Answer: A) Like a Steamroller on Reverse
  9. Question: What does the metaphor “At a Snail’s Crawl” describe?
    • A) Rapid movement
    • B) Moving at an exceptionally slow pace
    • C) Sudden acceleration
    • D) Comfortable walking speed
    Answer: B) Moving at an exceptionally slow pace
  10. Question: Which metaphor signifies a continuous, slow, and often irritating process?
  • A) Like a Snail on Tranquilizers
  • B) Like a Sleepy Sloth
  • C) Like a Turtle Without a Shell
  • D) Like a Dripping Faucet

Answer: D) Like a Dripping Faucet

Conclusion

In a world that often glorifies speed and instant gratification, metaphors for slow remind us that there is beauty in taking our time.

Whether it’s the deliberate pace of a snail or the gradual movement of a glacier, these metaphors help us appreciate the value of patience and the art of slowness in various aspects of life.

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