Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Not tense or taut; loose: synonym: loose.
  • adjective Lacking in activity; not busy.
  • adjective Moving slowly; sluggish.
  • adjective Lacking in diligence or due care or concern; negligent: synonym: negligent.
  • adjective Flowing or blowing with little speed.
  • adjective Linguistics Pronounced with the muscles of the tongue and jaw relatively relaxed; lax.
  • intransitive verb To make looser or less taut.
  • intransitive verb To make slower.
  • intransitive verb To be careless or remiss in doing.
  • intransitive verb To slake (lime).
  • intransitive verb To be or become slack.
  • intransitive verb To be inactive or avoid work.
  • noun A loose part, as of a rope or sail.
  • noun A period of little activity; a lull.
  • noun A cessation of movement in a current of air or water.
  • noun An area of still water.
  • noun Unused capacity.
  • noun Casual pants that are not part of a suit.
  • adverb In a slack manner.
  • idiom Slang (cut/give) To make an allowance for (someone), as in allowing more time to finish something.
  • noun A mixture of coal fragments, coal dust, and dirt that remains after screening coal.
  • noun A small dell or hollow.
  • noun A bog; a morass.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The finer screenings of coal; coal-dirt; especially, the dirt of bituminous coal.
  • noun A sloping hillside.
  • noun An opening between hills; a hollow where no water runs.
  • noun A common.
  • noun A morass.
  • noun The interval of slack water, when the tide is at rest, either at high or low tide; sluggishness of the current, at that time See slack, adjective, 2.
  • noun plural A sailor's loose trousers.
  • noun Feeble, foolish talk.
  • To become slack or slow; slacken; become slower: as, a current of water slacks.
  • To become less tense, firm, or rigid; decrease in tension.
  • To abate; become less violent.
  • To become languid; languish; fail; flag.
  • To make slack or slow; retard.
  • To make slack or less tense; loosen; relax: as, to slack a rope or a bandage.
  • To relax; let go the hold of; lose or let slip.
  • To make less intense, violent, severe, rapid, etc.; abate; moderate; diminish; hence, to mitigate; relieve.
  • To be remiss in or neglectful of; neglect.
  • To make remiss or neglectful.
  • To slake (lime). See slake, transitive verb, 3.
  • To cool in water.
  • To retard the speed of, as a railway-train.
  • Slow in movement; tardy.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English slak, from Old English slæc; see slēg- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English sleck.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English slak, from Old Norse slakki.]

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Examples

  • His eyes were dark and blank, his expression slack.

    Heaven Lake

  • His eyes were dark and blank, his expression slack.

    Heaven Lake

  • His eyes were dark and blank, his expression slack.

    Heaven Lake

  • His eyes were dark and blank, his expression slack.

    Heaven Lake

  • His eyes were dark and blank, his expression slack.

    Heaven Lake

  • His eyes were dark and blank, his expression slack.

    Heaven Lake

  • The forenoon being what he called his slack time he found the earlier part of it most profitably used for sleep.

    The Dust Flower

  • About ten minutes or so, those tugs, five tugs in all, were pulling with all their might to try and get this old gray lady off of Pier 86 and finally, as we stood on the flight deck, there was movement, very slow at first, and then she just took off and she was traveling faster than I think they expected and we ended up just sitting off of the Bayone wet dock for about three hours waiting for what they call slack to decrease or lower tide to come in so the ship could be controlled better and brought right into this dock that we are obviously just now moving into.

    CNN Transcript Dec 5, 2006

  • The argument that continued monetary slack is necessary to add millions more jobs scares those of us who are skeptical about the wisdom of Keynesian micromanagement in general.

    Interest Rate Debate, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Casting up, and not too far out, stripping in slack as the line moves back towards you will bet you the deepest.

    Split shot

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