Dictionary.com Unabridged

slack

1 [slak]
adjective
1.
not tight, taut, firm, or tense; loose: a slack rope.
2.
negligent; careless; remiss: slack proofreading.
3.
slow, sluggish, or indolent: He is slack in answering letters.
4.
not active or busy; dull; not brisk: the slack season in an industry.
5.
moving very slowly, as the tide, wind, or water.
6.
weak; lax.
7.
Nautical, easy ( def 15a ).
adverb
8.
in a slack manner.
noun
9.
a slack condition or part.
10.
the part of a rope, sail, or the like, that hangs loose, without strain upon it.
11.
a decrease in activity, as in business or work: a sudden slack in output.
12.
a period of decreased activity.
13.
Geography. a cessation in a strong flow, as of a current at its turn.
14.
a depression between hills, in a hillside, or in the land surface.
15.
Prosody. (in sprung rhythm) the unaccented syllable or syllables.
16.
British Dialect. a morass; marshy ground; a hollow or dell with soft, wet ground at the bottom.
verb (used with object)
17.
to be remiss in respect to (some matter, duty, right, etc.); shirk; leave undone: He slacked the most important part.
18.
to make or allow to become less active, vigorous, intense, etc.; relax (efforts, labor, speed, etc.); lessen; moderate (often followed by up ).
19.
to make loose, or less tense or taut, as a rope; loosen (often followed by off or out ).
20.
to slake (lime).
verb (used without object)
21.
to be remiss; shirk one's duty or part.
22.
to become less active, vigorous, rapid, etc. (often followed by up ): Business is slacking up.
23.
to become less tense or taut, as a rope; to ease off.
24.
to become slaked, as lime.
Idioms
25.
take up the slack,
a.
to pull in or make taut a loose section of a rope, line, wire, etc.: Take up the slack before releasing the kite.
b.
to provide or compensate for something that is missing or incomplete: New sources of oil will take up the slack resulting from the embargo.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English slac (adj.), Old English sleac, slæc; cognate with Old Norse slakr, Old High German slach, Latin laxus lax

slackingly, adverb
slackly, adverb
slackness, noun
unslacked, adjective
unslacking, adjective


1. relaxed. 2. lazy, weak. 3. dilatory, tardy, late. 4. idle, quiet. 11. slowing, relaxation. 17. neglect. 18. reduce, slacken. 21. malinger.

slack

2 [slak]
noun
the fine screenings of coal.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English sleck < Middle Dutch slacke, slecke

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
slack1 (slæk)
 
adj
1.  not tight, tense, or taut
2.  negligent or careless
3.  (esp of water, etc) moving slowly
4.  (of trade, etc) not busy
5.  phonetics another term for lax
 
adv
6.  in a slack manner
 
n
7.  a part of a rope, etc, that is slack: take in the slack
8.  a period of decreased activity
9.  a.  a patch of water without current
 b.  a slackening of a current
10.  prosody (in sprung rhythm) the unstressed syllable or syllables
 
vb
11.  to neglect (one's duty, etc)
12.  (often foll by off) to loosen; to make slack
13.  chem a less common word for slake
 
[Old English slæc, sleac; related to Old High German slah, Old Norse slākr bad, Latin laxuslax]
 
'slackly1
 
adv
 
'slackness1
 
n

slack2 (slæk)
 
n
small pieces of coal with a high ash content
 
[C15: probably from Middle Low German slecke; related to Dutch slak, German Schlacke dross]

slacks (slæks)
 
pl n
informal trousers worn by both sexes

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

slack
O.E. slæc "loose, careless" (in ref. to personal conduct), from P.Gmc. *slakas (cf. O.S. slak, O.N. slakr, O.H.G. slah "slack," M.Du. lac "fault, lack"), from PIE base *(s)leg- "to be slack" (see lax). Sense of "not tight" (in ref. to things) is first recorded c.1300.
The verb is attested from 1520; slacken (v.) first recorded 1580. Slack-key (1975) translates Hawaiian ki ho'alu First record of slack-jawed (1901) is in Kipling. Slack water "time when tide is not flowing" is from 1769. Slacker popularized 1994, though meaning "person who shirks work" dates back to 1898.

slack
"coal dust," c.1440, sleck, probably from M.Du. slacke, M.L.G. slecke "slag, small pieces left after coal is screened," perhaps related to slagge "splinter flying off metal when it is struck" (see slag).

slack
1794, "loose part or end" (of a rope, sail, etc.), from slack (adj.); hense fig. senses in take up the slack (1930) and slang cut (someone) some slack (1968). Meaning "quiet period, lull" is from 1851. Slacks "loose trousers" first recorded 1824, originally military.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang Dictionary

slack

n.
1. Space allocated to a disk file but not actually used to store useful information. The techspeak equivalent is `internal fragmentation'. Antonym: hole.
2. In the theology of the Church of the SubGenius, a mystical substance or quality that is the prerequisite of all human happiness.

Since Unix files are stored compactly, except for the unavoidable wastage in the last block or fragment, it might be said that "Unix has no slack". See ha ha only serious.
Example sentences
Seated on a stool with hands folded primly on its lap, it wore a bright pink
  blazer and gray slacks.
Dressed in batik shirts and slacks, they glided across the floor to shake my
  hand.
He wore an oversize polo shirt, baggy slacks, and a baseball cap slightly askew.
Today he wore his uniform slacks and a pair of lightweight boots.
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