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[slak-uh n] /ˈslæk ən/
verb (used with or without object)
to make or become less active, vigorous, intense, etc.
to make or become looser or less taut.
Origin of slacken
First recorded in 1570-80; slack1 + -en1
Related forms
unslackened, adjective
unslackening, adjective
1, 2. relax, loosen, slack, abate.
2. tighten, tense. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for slackened
Historical Examples
  • Stretched on the hearthrug, with slackened jaw, and great chest heaving with regular rise and fall, he slept like a tired dog.

    Audrey Craven May Sinclair
  • The wounded buffalo became distressed, and slackened his pace.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • The artillery fire was kept up for more than an hour when it slackened, but was vigorously resumed for a time about nine o'clock.

  • Their bows, too, had become wetted with the rain, and the strings were slackened.

  • He had backslidden, slackened in the use of the means of grace, run after the things of this world.

    Tales of the Five Towns Arnold Bennett
  • "We are close by them," said I; and involuntarily we slackened our pace.

    Field and Forest Oliver Optic
  • They skimmed over a dozen yards of ice and 54then slackened speed.

    The Camp in the Snow William Murray Graydon
  • His heart, compressed by a painful foreboding, slackened its joyous throbbing.

    Foma Gordyeff Maxim Gorky
  • We slackened our pace, knowing that the dogs would hold him till we arrived, and we needed our breath for the next act.

  • He slackened pace in a moment and began whispering to himself' I could not hear what he said.

    Eben Holden Irving Bacheller
British Dictionary definitions for slackened


verb (often foll by off)
to make or become looser
to make or become slower, less intense, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for slackened



early 15c., from slack (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Slackened; slackening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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