"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[slak-uh n] /ˈslæk ən/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to make or become less active, vigorous, intense, etc.
to make or become looser or less taut.
Origin of slacken
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for slacken
  • slacken the fixing screw and carefully slide the instrument until the cross hairs are in register with the target.
  • slacken the chain and move the adjacent links to one side to inspect for wear at the contact points.
  • At some point the incremental improvement will typically slacken off considerably.
  • After that, evolutionary pressures slacken and genome maintenance slows.
  • It may help to throttle forward a short distance to slacken the cable.
  • When the wind does slacken up, anglers should be rewarded with the typical fall fare for this area.
British Dictionary definitions for slacken


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 slacken

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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