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

  • transitive & intransitive verb To make or become slower; slow down.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To make or become less tense, taut, or firm; loosen.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To make or become less vigorous, intense, or severe; ease.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The slags or cinder from previous fusions, used in smelting operations to mix with natural ores and to retard fusion of the ores until reduction shall have proceeded to the desired point.
  • To become slack.
  • To become less active; fall off: as, trade slackened; the demand slackens; prices slacken
  • To become remiss or neglectful, as of duty.
  • To make slack or slacker.
  • To abate; moderate; lessen; diminish the intensity, severity, rate, etc., of; hence, to mitigate; assuage; relieve: as, to slacken one's pace; to slacken cares.
  • To be or become remiss in or neglectful of; remit; relax: as, to slacken labor or exertion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Metal.) A spongy, semivitrifled substance which miners or smelters mix with the ores of metals to prevent their fusion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To gradually decrease in intensity or tautness; to become slack.
  • verb transitive To make slack, less taut, or less intense.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb make less active or fast
  • verb make slack as by lessening tension or firmness
  • verb become looser or slack
  • verb become slow or slower


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word slacken.


  • Think I'll just kind of slacken up on this G.C.L. stuff now. ''

    Babbitt 1922

  • Think I’ll just kind of slacken up on this G.C.L. stuff now.

    Chapter 34 1922

  • No matter which of the two levers he clicked below either hand-grip, the chain seemed to slacken, meaning the pedals spun faster, and the bike slowed.

    BC Bloggers The Author 2010

  • Think I’ll just kind of slacken up on this G.C.L. stuff now.”

    Babbit 2004

  • Think I'll just kind of slacken up on this G.C.L. stuff now. "

    Babbitt Sinclair Lewis 1918

  • Today (Friday): Yesterday's winds slacken for a fantastic autumn day.

    Forecast: What more could you ask for?! Camden Walker 2010

  • The suggestion that the elimination of alcoholic beverage ads from The Pitt News and other publications connected with the university will slacken the demand for alcohol by Pitt students is counterintuitive and unsupported by any evidence ....

    Court upholds ban on alcohol ads in student newspapers 2010

  • At the same time, U.S. officials had hoped that Mr. Assad, who succeeded his dictator father, Hafez al-Assad, in 2000, would embrace democratic change and slacken his ties to Iran.

    World Leaders Urge Assad to Resign Jay Solomon 2011

  • And that decline may well come not from a scarcity of resources but from greater efficiency, which will slacken global demand.

    There Will Be Oil Daniel Yergin 2011

  • I suggest this book as required reading for 8th graders would, all by itself, slacken teen birth rates dramatically.

    Is there such a thing as a “practical pregnancy”? « Awful Library Books 2010


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.