Middle English slouthe, from slow slow
- 1a : disinclination to action or labor : indolence
- 2: any of various slow-moving arboreal edentate mammals (genera Bradypus and Choloepus) that inhabit tropical forests of South and Central America, hang from the branches back downward, and feed on leaves, shoots, and fruits — compare three-toed sloth, two-toed sloth
Laziness (also called indolence) is a disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to do so. It is often used as a pejorative; related terms for a person seen to be lazy include couch potato, slacker, and bludger.
Leonard Carmichael notes that "laziness is not a word that appears in the table of contents of most technical books on psychology...It is a guilty secret of modern psychology that more is understood about the motivation of thirsty rats and hungry pecking pigeons as they press levers or hit targets than is known about the way in which poets make themselves write poems or scientists force themselves into the laboratory when the good golfing days of spring arrive." A 1931 survey found that high school students were more likely to attribute failing performance of students to laziness, while teachers ranked "lack of ability" as the major cause, with laziness coming in second.