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Slowness is a Status Effect which affects a Player's movement speed, causing them to move slower than normal. The higher the level of the effect, the slower the player will move. If the effect is strong enough, the player will not be able to move whatsoever, other than by Jumping or "rotating". A player's field of vision will decrease while this effect is active.
Potions (including Witch's slowness splash potions) and Arrows of Slowness will provide slowness. Spiders, Cave Spiders, Endermites, and Silverfish will get slowness when struck by a sword that is enchanted with Bane of Arthropods.
The Swiftness status effect makes the user move faster for a short time. Because of this, Swiftness and Slowness can be considered as opposing effects, since they affect a player in the exact opposite way. However, the two effects do not cancel each other out. A player with the maximum slowness effect will still be stuck in place, regardless of whether they also have a swiftness effect.