ˈslāk How to pronounce slake (audio)
 intransitive sense 2 & transitive sense 3 are also  ˈslak
slaked; slaking

intransitive verb

archaic : subside, abate
: to become slaked : crumble
lime may slake spontaneously in moist air

transitive verb

archaic : to lessen the force of : moderate
: satisfy, quench
slake your thirst
will slake your curiosity
: to cause (a substance, such as lime) to heat and crumble by treatment with water : hydrate

Did you know?

There is no lack of obsolete and archaic meanings when it comes to slake. Shakespearean scholars may know that in the Bard's day slake meant "to subside or abate" ("No flood by raining slaketh ...." — The Rape of Lucrece) or "to lessen the force of" ("It could not slake mine ire, nor ease my heart." — Henry VI, Part 3). The most erudite word enthusiasts may also be aware of earlier meanings of slake, such as "to slacken one's efforts" or "to cause to be relaxed or loose." These early meanings recall the word's Old English ancestor sleac, which not only meant "slack" but is also the source of that modern term.

Example Sentences

trying to slake his curiosity a harrowing experience while mountain climbing has largely slaked my desire for high adventure
Recent Examples on the Web The water – never plentiful, but historically sufficient – has been redirected south to slake the swell of Los Angeles. Erin Douglass, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Oct. 2022 A1A Ale Works, Ancient City Brewing and Dog Rose Brewing are among those that slake the thirst of downtown St. Augustine explorers today. Kerry J. Byrne, Fox News, 8 Sep. 2022 And each day, another Wordle to slake my thirst for puzzles. Erik Kain, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 But even an inch of water could slake the thirst of a few of her cows and maybe some wild elk and deer, too. Erin Patrick O'connor, Washington Post, 14 May 2022 Others bore enough Heineken beer to slake the thirst of every adult in San Francisco for a year. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2022 Luckily for those of us who are fired up about the discovery of the Endurance shipwreck, there is plenty to read and watch to slake our thirst for polar adventure and suffering. Eva Holland, Outside Online, 30 Mar. 2022 New Englanders are blessed with abundant rainfall most years, enough to soak our soils and to slake our thirsts. Jon Gorey,, 27 Mar. 2022 Among the film’s most piercing scenes are a couple of doozies set in the local watering hole, where Leslie gravitates to slake her thirst and to escape the judgment of her grudging hosts. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'slake.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English, from Old English slacian, from sleac slack

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of slake was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near slake

Cite this Entry

“Slake.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


ˈslāk How to pronounce slake (audio)
 senses 3 & 4 are also  ˈslak
slaked; slaking
archaic : abate, moderate
: to relieve or satisfy with water or liquid : quench
slaked our thirst
: to become slaked
: to cause (lime) to heat and crumble by treatment with water

More from Merriam-Webster on slake

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?