[ slak ]
/ slæk /
not tight, taut, firm, or tense; loose: a slack rope.
negligent; careless; remiss: slack proofreading.
slow, sluggish, or indolent: He is slack in answering letters.
not active or busy; dull; not brisk: the slack season in an industry.
moving very slowly, as the tide, wind, or water.
Nautical. easy(def 15a).
in a slack manner.
a slack condition or part.
the part of a rope, sail, or the like, that hangs loose, without strain upon it.
a decrease in activity, as in business or work: a sudden slack in output.
a period of decreased activity.
Geography. a cessation in a strong flow, as of a current at its turn.
a depression between hills, in a hillside, or in the land surface.
Prosody. (in sprung rhythm) the unaccented syllable or syllables.
British Dialect. a morass; marshy ground; a hollow or dell with soft, wet ground at the bottom.
verb (used with object)
to be remiss in respect to (some matter, duty, right, etc.); shirk; leave undone: He slacked the most important part.
to make or allow to become less active, vigorous, intense, etc.; relax (efforts, labor, speed, etc.); lessen; moderate (often followed by up).
to make loose, or less tense or taut, as a rope; loosen (often followed by off or out).
to slake (lime).
verb (used without object)
to be remiss; shirk one's duty or part.
to become less active, vigorous, rapid, etc. (often followed by up): Business is slacking up.
to become less tense or taut, as a rope; to ease off.
to become slaked, as lime.
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- to pull in or make taut a loose section of a rope, line, wire, etc.: Take up the slack before releasing the kite.
- to provide or compensate for something that is missing or incomplete: New sources of oil will take up the slack resulting from the embargo.
take up the slack,
Origin of slack1
before 900; Middle English slac (adj.), Old English sleac, slæc; cognate with Old Norse slakr, Old High German slach, Latin laxus lax
slack·ing·ly, adverbslack·ly, adverbslack·ness, nounun·slacked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for slack off (1 of 2)
/ (slæk) /
not tight, tense, or taut
negligent or careless
(esp of water, etc) moving slowly
(of trade, etc) not busy
phonetics another term for lax (def. 4)
in a slack manner
a part of a rope, etc, that is slacktake in the slack
a period of decreased activity
- a patch of water without current
- a slackening of a current
prosody (in sprung rhythm) the unstressed syllable or syllables
to neglect (one's duty, etc)
(often foll by off) to loosen; to make slack
chem a less common word for slake (def. 3)
See also slacks
Derived Formsslackly, adverbslackness, noun
Word Origin for slack
Old English slæc, sleac; related to Old High German slah, Old Norse slākr bad, Latin laxus lax
British Dictionary definitions for slack off (2 of 2)
/ (slæk) /
small pieces of coal with a high ash content
Word Origin for slack
C15: probably from Middle Low German slecke; related to Dutch slak, German Schlacke dross
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
Idioms and Phrases with slack off
Decrease in activity or intensity, as in If business ever slacks off we can go on vacation, or When the project fell behind schedule again, she thought we were slacking off. [Second half of 1800s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.