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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.

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    $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ – Aza Aug 7 '15 at 4:27
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Is it:

slug


slower than a sloth

slugs (the animal) are known to move slowly.

faster than sound

"slug" can also refer to a bullet.

printers

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

bartenders

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

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  • $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 7 '15 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK is this your intended answer? Or you had something else in your mind actually $\endgroup$ – Alex Aug 7 '15 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 '15 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. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 7 '15 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 '15 at 15:35
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Got it! It's a

slug

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.

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    $\begingroup$ Shoot, did not see the newer answer! $\endgroup$ – Luke Aug 7 '15 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ Haha! - Pity because you got all the clues spot on! $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 7 '15 at 17:25
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Okay, probably not the real answer, but is it a:

shot

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!

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  • $\begingroup$ Why the downvote, downvoter? Seems the answer is explained adequately. $\endgroup$ – dennisdeems Aug 7 '15 at 13:42
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    $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 7 '15 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough, I'll keep thinking... $\endgroup$ – Luke Aug 7 '15 at 14:47
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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.

Printer:

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

Bartender:

Water is sometimes more expensive than other drinks

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