Idiom:  At a snail's pace


Look at the picture and try to guess the meaning of the idiom 'at a snail's pace.'  In the picture there is a small animal with a shell that is called a "snail" in English.

Are you familiar with this animal? If so, you can easily understand the meaning because this idiomatic phrase describes the speed (pace) of snail's movement.

At a snail's pace:   Very slowly.

Here are some examples of this idiom. 


  • I'm never coming to this restaurant again—the serve the food at a snail's pace.      
  • I recommend you bring a book when you go to the post office. It's the holidays and they always work at a snail's pace this time of year.     
  • It took her six years to get her bachelor's degree and she wasn't even working. Her parents paid for everything while she was at university so she studied at a snail's pace.
  • Traffic was moving at a snail's pace so I arrived 45 minutes late for work.
  • Unfortunately, the lines at both check-in and security are moving at a snail's pace so we are going to miss the flight.
  • I'm going to hire a different painter for the inside of our house. The company we are using for the exterior is painting at a snail's pace.
  • I'm so frustrated because, although I started exercising every day, I'm still losing weight at a snail's pace.
  • My youngest son does his homework at a snail's pace but as long as we are patient while helping him, he does eventually complete it.

  • What’s wrong with the Internet? It’s working at a snail’s pace today.

Is this a common idiom? Yes, it is common to see and hear in written and spoken English.

You might like these other idioms

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Your turn to practice

Practicing writing your own example will help you remember this idiom in the future.  Do you work quickly or at a snail's pace?  When was the last time you experienced something that was happening at a snail's pace? Do you have this idiom (or a similar one) in your language?

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