I'm slower than a sloth, yet have been known to travel faster than sound. Printers think I'm good for nothing yet bartenders charge good money for me. What am I?

The answer is a single English word. It can be found in any ordinary dictionary. No hyphens no trickery. No proper names fictional or non-fictional. Just an ordinary word. Not an abstract noun or nebulous concept. You can see and touch these just like you could, say, a tennis ball or a table (These objects aren't clues, they're just random examples of tangible objects).

Note: "Slower than a sloth" should be taken to relate to a race between me and the sloth. We would both move under our own power at our fastest speed towards the finishing line but the sloth would win.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've reopened the question based on the current edits (and cleaned up the comments here), since it might not have gotten enough activity to be reopened otherwise. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Aug 7, 2015 at 4:27

4 Answers 4


Is it:


slower than a sloth

slugs (the animal) are known to move slowly.

faster than sound

"slug" can also refer to a bullet.


in typesetting, the "slug" is an area that contains instructions for the printer, but is trimmed off and discarded after a document is printed.


a "slug" also means a shot of an alcoholic drink.

  • $\begingroup$ This is correct in every respect except for a quibble about the printer. Could you back up your assertion (with a URL to the relevant explanation) that it refers to an error? I don't think it does. If you can do that (or come up with a better explanation) I'll gladly accept this as the correct answer. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2015 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK is this your intended answer? Or you had something else in your mind actually $\endgroup$
    – Alex
    Aug 7, 2015 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ here: computerhope.com/jargon/s/slugarea.htm "A slug area is the name used to describe the area outside the printing area and bleed area of a document that contains the registration mark and other printing instructions for the printer." Nice answer! $\endgroup$
    – Doge
    Aug 7, 2015 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Alex B - Yes slug is my intended answer! I can back up all the facts with the correct references if necessary. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2015 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK I was using the 11th definition here but the definition Doge linked seems to be better-attested. $\endgroup$
    – f''
    Aug 7, 2015 at 15:35

Got it! It's a


Slower than a sloth:

Slugs travel up to 0.01 m/s, sloths about 0.03 m/s on the ground.

Faster than sound:

Bullets are called slugs too, and most of them travel faster than sound.

Printers think I'm good for nothing:

Slugs are used in printing to space paragraphs, so are in a sense good for "nothing" (space.)

Bartenders charge good money for me:

A slug is also a shot of liquor.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Shoot, did not see the newer answer! $\endgroup$
    – Luke
    Aug 7, 2015 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ Haha! - Pity because you got all the clues spot on! $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2015 at 17:25

Okay, probably not the real answer, but is it a:


Slower than a sloth:

Very literally, shot is the pellets in a shotgun or the ball tossed by a shotputter. They're inanimate so they don't move at all.

Faster than sound:

Most guns shoot bullets faster than sound.

Printers think I'm good for nothing:

(This is a stretch.) Printers are interested in words, not pictures. They would prefer a good page of well-typeset text to your shot of the same subject.

And of course, bartenders charge good money for me!

  • $\begingroup$ Why the downvote, downvoter? Seems the answer is explained adequately. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2015 at 13:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ P.S. I wasn't the down-voter. Yours is the best attempt so far IMHO. Most of it is plausible but you missed my note that says, "Note: "Slower than a sloth" should be taken to relate to a race between me and the sloth. The sloth would win." I don't see how an inanimate object can reasonably take part in a race. I've made that explicit now. Also I don't think the printer one is very convincing. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2015 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough, I'll keep thinking... $\endgroup$
    – Luke
    Aug 7, 2015 at 14:47

Is it

water ?

Race (speculative):

Depending on the landscape it would flow towards the finishing line, but extremely slow, so a sloth could win.

Faster than sound:

There are waterjet cutter. But i honestly don't know how fast the water will get there.


Water destroys the work of printers or make them nearly useless if the paper is soaked.


Water is sometimes more expensive than other drinks


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