From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


1. Slowness; tardiness. These cardinals trifle with me; I abhor This dilatory sloth and tricks of Rome. (Shak)

2. Disinclination to action or labour; sluggishness; laziness; idleness. [They] change their course to pleasure, ease, and sloth. (milton) Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears. (Franklin)

3. (Science: zoology) Any one of several species of arboreal edentates constituting the family Bradypodidae, and the suborder tardigrada. They have long exserted limbs and long prehensile claws. Both jaws are furnished with teeth, and the ears and tail are rudimentary. They inhabit south and Central America and Mexico.

The three-toed sloths belong to the genera Bradypus and Arctopithecus, of which several species have been described. They have three toes on each foot. The best-known species are collared sloth (Bradypus tridactylus), and the ai (Arctopitheus ai). The two-toed sloths, consisting the genus Cholopus, have two toes on each fore foot and three on each hind foot. The best-known is the unau (Cholopus didactylus) of south America. See Unau. Another species (C. Hoffmanni) inhabits Central America. Various large extinct terrestrial edentates, such as megatherium and mylodon, are often called sloths.

(Science: medicine) Australian, or native sloth, a loris.

Origin: OE. Slouthe, sleuthe, AS. Slw, fr. Slaw slow. See Slow.