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slack1

[slak] /slæk/
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,
  1. to pull in or make taut a loose section of a rope, line, wire, etc.:
    Take up the slack before releasing the kite.
  2. 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
900
before 900; Middle English slac (adj.), Old English sleac, slæc; cognate with Old Norse slakr, Old High German slach, Latin laxus lax
Related forms
slackingly, adverb
slackly, adverb
slackness, noun
unslacked, adjective
unslacking, adjective
Synonyms
1. relaxed. 2. lazy, weak. 3. dilatory, tardy, late. 4. idle, quiet. 11. slowing, relaxation. 17. neglect. 18. reduce, slacken. 21. malinger.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for take up slack

slack1

/slæk/
adjective
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 (sense 4)
adverb
6.
in a slack manner
noun
7.
a part of a rope, etc, that is slack take in the slack
8.
a period of decreased activity
9.
  1. a patch of water without current
  2. a slackening of a current
10.
(prosody) (in sprung rhythm) the unstressed syllable or syllables
verb
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 (sense 3)
See also slacks
Derived Forms
slackly, adverb
slackness, noun
Word Origin
Old English slæc, sleac; related to Old High German slah, Old Norse slākr bad, Latin laxuslax

slack2

/slæk/
noun
1.
small pieces of coal with a high ash content
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for take up slack
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
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Slang definitions & phrases for take up slack

slack

noun

A period of inertness or decreased activity: He'd pulled his weight long enough to get some slack/ a channel surfer trapped in his own den of slack (1851+)

verb

: Witness the 40,000 or so Americans here now, a lot of them teaching English or just slacking, drinking 50-cent beers in the pubs, grooving to acid jazz at the Roxy


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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