1

slack

adjective \ ˈslak \

Definition of slack

1 :not using due diligence, care, or dispatch :negligent
2 a :characterized by slowness, sluggishness, or lack of energy
  • a slack pace
b :moderate in some quality; especially :moderately warm
  • a slack oven
c :blowing or flowing at low speed
  • the tide was slack
3 a :not tight or taut
  • a slack rope
b :lacking in usual or normal firmness and steadiness :weak
  • slack muscles
  • slack supervision
4 :wanting in activity :dull
  • a slack market
5 :lacking in completeness, finish, or perfection
  • a very slack piece of work

slackly

adverb

slackness

noun

Examples of slack in a Sentence

  1. His broken arm hung slack at his side.

  2. The rope suddenly went slack.

  3. He accused the government of slack supervision of nuclear technology.

Origin and Etymology of slack

Middle English slak, from Old English sleac; akin to Old High German slah slack, Latin laxus slack, loose, languēre to languish, Greek lagnos lustful and perhaps to Greek lēgein to stop

Synonym Discussion of slack

negligent, neglectful, lax, slack, remiss mean culpably careless or indicative of such carelessness. negligent implies inattention to one's duty or business.
    • negligent about writing a note of thanks
neglectful adds a more disapproving implication of laziness or deliberate inattention.
    • a society callously neglectful of the poor
lax implies a blameworthy lack of strictness, severity, or precision.
    • a reporter lax about accurate quotation
slack implies want of due or necessary diligence or care.
    • slack workmanship
remiss implies blameworthy carelessness shown in slackness, forgetfulness, or neglect.
    • had been remiss in their familial duties

2

slack

verb

Definition of slack

intransitive verb
1 :to be or become slack
2 :to shirk or evade work or duty
transitive verb
1 a :to be slack or negligent in performing or doing
2 :to release tension on :loosen
3 a :to cause to abate
b :slake 3

Examples of slack in a Sentence

  1. They need to stop slacking and get down to work.

  2. the skipper ordered the crew to slack off the sheets on the mainsail

First Known Use of slack

13th century

slack Synonyms

Synonyms
ease, loosen, relax, slacken
Antonyms
strain, stretch, tense, tension, tighten
Related Words
detach, free, unbind, undo, unfasten, untie
Near Antonyms
attach, bind, fasten, tie; constrain, restrain

3

slack

noun

Definition of slack

1 :cessation in movement or flow
2 :a part of something that hangs loose without strain
  • take up the slack of a rope
3 :trousers especially for casual wear usually used in plural
4 :a dull season or period
5 a :a part that is available but not used
  • some slack in the budget
b :a portion (as of labor or resources) that is required but lacking
  • hired a temp to take up the slack
6 :additional leeway or relief from pressure usually used with cut
  • refused to cut me some slack on the schedule

First Known Use of slack

1756


4

slack

noun

Definition of slack

dialectal, England
:a pass between hills

Origin and Etymology of slack

Middle English slak, from Old Norse slakki


5

slack

noun

Definition of slack

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

Origin and Etymology of slack

earlier sleck, probably from Middle Dutch slacke, slecke slag



SLACK Defined for English Language Learners

slack

adjective

Definition of slack for English Language Learners

  • : not stretched or held in a tight position

  • : not busy : lacking the expected or desired activity

  • : doing something poorly because you are not putting enough care or effort into it


slack

verb

Definition of slack for English Language Learners

  • : to give little or no effort or attention to work


SLACK Defined for Kids

1

slack

adjective \ ˈslak \

Definition of slack for Students

1 :careless 1, negligent
  • They were slack in all things, without order or discipline.
  • —Jack London, The Call of the Wild
2 :not energetic :slow
  • a slack pace
3 :not tight or firm
  • a slack rope
  • a slack jaw
4 :not busy or active
  • Business is slack.

2

slack

verb

Definition of slack for Students

slacked; slacking
1 :to make or become looser, slower, or less energetic
2 :to avoid work

slacker

\ˈsla-kər\ noun

3

slack

noun

Definition of slack for Students

1 :a part (as of a rope or sail) that hangs loose without strain
2 slacks plural :dressy pants
3 :a portion (as of work or resources) that is required but lacking
  • He was hired to take up the slack.
4 :additional relief from pressure Hint: This sense is usually used with cut.
  • Can you cut me some slack on the schedule?


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up 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!

WORD OF THE DAY

to praise usually to excess

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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