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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for slackened
Historical Examples
  • To the bewilderment of the Leopard Woman the pace of the safari now slackened.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • But Philip slackened not his pace; he began to distance his pursuers.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Stanley's jaw dropped, but it was surprise which slackened the muscles.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • That moment Turkey slackened his pace, and burst into a fit of laughter.

    Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood George MacDonald
  • As soon as he felt himself under cover he slackened his pace.

  • But when she found herself alone in the midst of the crowd, she slackened her pace.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • Joe slackened the car's pace, and leaned his head round the corner.

    The Burning Spear John Galsworthy
  • It slackened at last, and the figure of the doctor reappeared on the wing.

    The Solar Magnet Sterner St. Paul Meek
  • But Wellington held the reins, and his grip never relaxed or slackened.

    The Snare Rafael Sabatini
  • I slackened speed somewhat and rode on, watching him sharply.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
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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