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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 slackening
Historical Examples
  • "I'm sorry, dear," he exclaimed, slackening his pace reluctantly.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • To keep the business from slackening, Andre-Louis prepared a new scenario every week.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • I had suffered too much; I wanted rest, woman's love, slackening off.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • There was no sign of slackening speed and everything appeared to be all right.

    Cab and Caboose

    Kirk Munroe
  • After a time the animals seemed to him to be slackening their speed.

    The Pony Rider Boys in Texas

    Frank Gee Patchin
  • And sometimes it comes to us; but the absence of it is no reason for slackening our work.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture

    Alexander Maclaren
  • "Seventeen chapters are done," she answered, slackening her pace a little.

    Teddy: Her Book Anna Chapin Ray
  • He went up to him without an instant's slackening of his steady step.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • And then, with the slackening of her vigilance, came the slackening of her entire mind.

    The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford
  • In any event, there was no shifting of the helm, no slackening of speed.

British Dictionary definitions for slackening


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 slackening



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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