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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

Related Words


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.


    Rafael Sabatini

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


    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.

British Dictionary definitions for slackening


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 slackening



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper