Here is a phrase where this combination is used in a book:

The panels kept on growing, until they required complex, sloth-tech machinery to hold them aloft against gravity and weather.

Could you explain what "sloth-tech" here actually means?

  • Have you looked up sloth in the dictionary? The author is coining a phrase based on the animal's association with slowness.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 19:41
  • @TRomano yes, I know what a sloth animal or person is :) So you mean that sloth-tech means "slow" and "cumbersome" in this case? Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


This is from a piece of science fiction by Alistair Reynolds. Depictions of technologies in the fictional worlds of such writing may use nicely coined new terms and fictional slang, often without definition or immediate explanation. Part of the fun is to infer the author's intent. Sometimes the meanings are explained later in the book. [We might consider the Lewis Carroll poem Jabberwocky as a similar flight of fancy, many of the terms are explained later in the narrative.]

Here we are presumably meant to imagine some high-tech machinery that moves extremely slowly, and perhaps with the appearance of organic behaviour.

  • 1
    yeah, you are rigth. I got it like this. Translating that short novel from English language so trying to think such things over thoroughly :) Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 20:21
  • 1
    Take note that Sloth is capitalized in the original -- it's intended as a proper noun or adjective. Based on this story alone, we have no idea whether the Sloth are an alien race, an intergalactic civilization, a set of techniques based on as-yet-undiscovered fields of science, or something even more difficult to imagine. Nevertheless, it's the kind of thing that deserves a capital in English. Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 20:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .