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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to make or become less active, vigorous, intense, etc.
  2. to make or become looser or less taut.
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Origin of slacken

First recorded in 1570–80; slack1 + -en1
Related formsun·slack·ened, adjectiveun·slack·en·ing, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged 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.

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


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for slackened


verb (often foll by off)
  1. to make or become looser
  2. to make or become slower, less intense, etc
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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

Word Origin and History for slackened



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper