pick/take up the slack

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of pick/take up the slack

: to provide or do something that is missing or not getting done
  • The manager has to take up the slack when employees don't do their jobs correctly.
  • When he didn't get the pay raise he was expecting, he had to take another job to pick up the slack for more money.

Word by Word Definitions

pick play
  1. : to pierce, penetrate, or break up with a pointed instrument

  2. : to remove bit by bit

  3. : to remove covering or adhering matter from

  1. : a blow or stroke with a pointed instrument

  2. : the act or privilege of choosing or selecting : choice

  3. : the best or choicest one

  1. : a heavy, usually long-handled iron or steel tool pointed at one or both ends — compare mattock

  2. : toothpick

  3. : picklock

  1. : to throw or thrust with effort : hurl

  2. : to throw (a shuttle) across the loom

  1. : the act of pitching or throwing

  2. : something thrown

  3. : a throw of the shuttle

take play
  1. : to get into one's hands or into one's possession, power, or control: such as

  2. : to seize or capture physically

  3. : to get possession of (fish or game) by killing or capturing

  1. : a distinct or personal point of view, outlook, or assessment

  2. : an act or the action of taking: such as

  3. : the uninterrupted photographing or televising of a scene

up play
  1. : in or into a higher position or level

  2. : from beneath the ground or water to the surface

  3. : from below the horizon

  1. : risen above the horizon

  2. : standing

  3. : being out of bed

  1. used as a function word to indicate motion to or toward or situation at a higher point of

  2. : up into or in the

  3. : in a direction regarded as being toward or near the upper end or part of

  1. : one in a high or advantageous position

  2. : an upward slope

  3. : a period or state of prosperity or success

  1. : to rise from a lying or sitting position

  2. : to move upward : ascend

  3. used with and and another verb to indicate that the action of the following verb was either surprisingly or abruptly initiated

slack play
  1. : not using due diligence, care, or dispatch : negligent

  2. : characterized by slowness, sluggishness, or lack of energy

  3. : moderate in some quality

  1. : to be or become slack

  2. : to shirk or evade work or duty

  3. : to be slack or negligent in performing or doing

  1. : cessation in movement or flow

  2. : a part of something that hangs loose without strain

  3. : trousers especially for casual wear

  1. : a pass between hills

  1. : the finest screenings of coal produced at a mine unusable as fuel unless cleaned


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up pick/take up the slack? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!