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(as) slow as molasses

Exceptionally slow or sluggish; not fast at all. This old laptop my dad gave me is a piece of junk. It's as slow as molasses! Come on, Becky, you're slow as molasses back there! Pick up the pace and keep up with the group.
See also: molasses, slow


Someone who moves or does things in a particularly slow or sluggish manner; someone who is or has been dawdling. We're never going to finish our project by the deadline with this slowpoke weighing us down! Hurry up, slowpoke! We're not going to wait all day for you to catch up with us.

slow march

1. A slow but steady progession toward a particular end. We know now that Gladys has been on a slow march toward death—her condition is terminal. I'm afraid that, without any changes, the company is on a slow march toward bankruptcy.
2. A slower-paced, rhythmic piece of music originally used to accompany marching soldiers. We're rehearsing a slow march for the concert on Sunday.
See also: march, slow

slow and steady wins the race

Prov. If you work slowly but constantly, you will succeed better than if you work fast for a short while and do not continue. (Associated with Aesop's fable of "The Tortoise and the Hare.") Joy only had a little bit of time to spend sewing every day, but she worked steadily and soon had finished a beautiful quilt. Slow and steady wins the race.
See also: and, race, slow, steady, win

*slow as molasses in January

 and slower than molasses in January
very slow-moving. (*Also: as ~.) Can't you get dressed any faster? I declare, you're as slow as molasses in January. The traffic on the way to the concert was slower than molasses in January.
See also: January, molasses, slow

slow but sure

 and slowly but surely
slow but unstoppable. Bob's progress on his novel was slow but sure. Nancy is finishing the paint job on her house, slowly but surely.
See also: but, slow, sure

slow down

to decrease speed; to go slower. Please slow down. You are going too fast.
See also: down, slow

slow going

the rate of speed when one is making slow progress. It was slow going at first, but I was able to finish the project by the weekend. Getting the heavy rocks out of the field is slow going.
See also: going, slow

slow off the mark

1. Lit. slow in starting or reacting. (Compare this with quick off the mark.) If you are always that slow off the mark you will never win the race. Boy, you were slow off the mark there!
2. Fig. slow-witted. The guy's slow off the mark but very friendly. Yes, I'm afraid Tony is a bit slow off the mark when it comes to trigonometry.
See also: mark, off, slow

slow on the draw

1. Lit. slow in drawing a gun. (Cowboy and gangster talk.) Bill got shot because he's so slow on the draw. The gunslinger said, "I have to be fast. If I'm slow on the draw, I'm dead."
2. and slow on the uptake Fig. slow to figure something out; slow-thinking. Sally didn't get the joke because she's sort of slow on the draw. Billwho's slow on the uptakedidn't get the joke until it was explained to him.
See also: draw, on, slow

slow someone or something up

 and slow someone or something down
to cause someone or something to reduce speed. I'm in a hurry. Don't try to slow me down. Please slow up the train. There are sheep near the track.
See also: slow, up

slow study

a person who is slow to learn things. (Compare this to a slow study.) Fred, who is a slow study, never caught on to the joke.
See also: slow, study

slow up

to go slower; to reduce speed in order for someone or something to catch up. slow up a little! I can't keep up with you! Please slow up. I can't follow your lecture when you talk so fast.
See also: slow, up

take it slow

to go slowly and carefully. Just relax and take it slow. You've got a good chance. You'll make it. Take it slow and keep your spirits up.
See also: slow, take

slow on the uptake

not able to understand something quickly I tried to explain how the new software works to my manager, but he's a little slow on the uptake.
Usage notes: also used in the form quick on the uptake (able to understand something quickly): He was quick on the uptake and able to realize right away what was wrong.
See also: on, slow, uptake

be slow off the mark

to be slow to act or to react to an event or situation The federal government was criticized for being slow off the mark in helping towns hit by the recent hurricane.
See also: mark, off, slow

be slow on the uptake

to be slow to understand new ideas I tried to explain the new database, but they were remarkably slow on the uptake.
See also: on, slow, uptake

do a slow burn

  (American & Australian informal)
to have a feeling of anger that gradually increases As he heard more about the plan to develop the area for industrial use he started doing a slow burn.
See also: burn, slow

on the uptake

In understanding or comprehension. This term is most often put as quick on the uptake, for readily understanding something, and slow on the uptake, for being slow to comprehend. For example, Shirley will have no trouble learning that new computer program-she's very quick on the uptake . It alludes to absorbing ("taking up") information. [Early 1800s]
See also: on, uptake

slow burn

Slowly increasing anger. It is often put as do a slow burn, meaning "gradually grow angrier," as in I did a slow burn when he kept me waiting for three hours. The burn in this idiom comes from burn up in the sense of "make furious." The term was first cited in 1938 and was closely associated with comedian Edgar Kennedy.
See also: burn, slow

slow but sure

Gradual or plodding but certain to finish, as in Slow but sure this book's getting written. This idiom was first recorded in 1562, although the idea is much older. A related phrase appears in the proverb slow and steady wins the race, which is the moral of Aesop's fable about the race between a tortoise and a hare, which stopped to nap during the race and therefore lost.
See also: but, slow, sure

slow down

1. Delay, retard, reduce speed, as in She slowed down the sled by dragging her foot, or Slow down, Bill; you're driving much too fast. [First half of 1800s] Also see slow up.
2. Become less active or vigorous, as in Now that I'm in my seventies I find I've slowed down quite a bit. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: down, slow

slow up

Slacken or cause to slacken in speed, as in The train slowed up as it approached the curve, or Come on, you're slowing me up. [Late 1800s] Also see slow down, def. 1.
See also: slow, up

slow down

1. To decrease the speed or rate of something: The chef slowed down the mixer and added some flour to the batter. We slowed the boat down as we entered the harbor.
2. To move, work, or happen at a slower rate: We slowed down so that we could read the road sign.
3. To delay someone or something; retard someone or something: An injury slowed down the runner. A virus has slowed my computer down.
See also: down, slow

slow up

1. To delay someone or something; retard someone or something: Bad weather slowed up the project. The accident on the freeway slowed us up.
2. To move, work, or happen at a slower rate: Traffic slows up where the two freeways converge.
See also: slow, up

do a slow burn

tv. to be quietly angry. (see also slow burn.) I did a slow burn while I was getting my money back.
See also: burn, slow

slow burn

n. the act of becoming angry very slowly or being resentful for a long period of time. (see also do a slow burn.) His lips were pressed together and he was angry but just having a slow burn.
See also: burn, slow

take it slow

tv. to go slowly and carefully. Just relax and take it slow. You’ve got a good chance.
See also: slow, take

slow boat to China

A very long time. A poker players' expression for a player who constantly lost was “I'd like to get you on a slow boat to China,” meaning that the others would have all the time in the world to win the guy's money. Composer Frank Loesser used the phrase as the title and the first line of a 1948 romantic ballad, and the expression started being used as a compliment.
See also: boat, china, slow
References in periodicals archive ?
The study included 82 breast cancer survivors who reported concerns about their cognitive function, such as poor memory and mental slowness.
More than the conditions it's the slowness of the pitch and slowness of the outfield in Sharjah," added Clarke, who has hit seven hundreds and piled up 7,209 runs in one-day cricket before the start of the second one-day match against Pakistan.
Gerard Gallagher, advisory partner and head of private sectors at Ernst & Young, said: "The UK is focused on the effects of cost-cutting and fears of a double-dip recession, reflecting slowness in economic growth.
Gaserow pointed to the uncertainty in the market as a major reason for the slowness of this year's renewal talks.
And that s why his book In Praise of Slowness is worth reading.
Within two weeks of exposure, the rats began to show parkinsonian symptoms, including slowness of movement, rigidity, and tremor.
You're so hooked by the cult of speed, you'll gobble a book on slowness.
Completely dislodged from utilitarian purpose and observed through a veil of imposed slowness, the magnified, mass-produced tool becomes sculptural--monumental even--at the precise moment when a fluffy white powder begins to fall and collect in tiny piles on every key.
Both the Fairfield and Westchester County commercial real estate office markets have shown relative stability thus far this year despite ongoing national economic slowness.
Clearly, some of the FDA's slowness and inactivity is due to inadequate staffing.
Making matters worse is the ministry's slowness in increasing funding at a pace that keeps up with these rising costs, increased legal expenses and union wage settlements.
With agonizing slowness, his couple struggled with attraction, ambiguity, and revulsion.
It could be said that--for reasons pertaining to both out oil dependency and our slowness at cutting that cord--we currently operate in a "fossil economy.
That slowness, though, hasn't kept Mexicans from downing an average of 17 million Big Macs a year.
To me, a commodity is 'characterized by not only ubiquity, but by slowness to change.