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For sense of coal dust, compare slag.


slack (countable and uncountable, plural slacks)

  1. (uncountable) Small coal; coal dust.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Raymond to this entry?)
  2. (countable) A valley, or small, shallow dell.
  3. (uncountable) The part of anything that hangs loose, having no strain upon it.
    The slack of a rope or of a sail.
  4. (countable) A tidal marsh or shallow, that periodically fills and drains.


  • (small coal; coal dust): culm
  • (tidal marsh): slough

Derived terms[edit]



slack (comparative slacker, superlative slackest)

  1. Lax; not tense; not hard drawn; not firmly extended.
    a slack rope
  2. Weak; not holding fast.
    a slack hand
  3. Remiss; backward; not using due diligence or care; not earnest or eager.
    slack in duty or service
    • Bible, 2 Peter iii. 9
      The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness.
  4. Not violent, rapid, or pressing.
    Business is slack.
    • 1928, Lawrence R. Bourne, chapter 3, Well Tackled![1]:
      “They know our boats will stand up to their work,” said Willison, “and that counts for a good deal. A low estimate from us doesn't mean scamped work, but just for that we want to keep the yard busy over a slack time.”
  5. (slang, West Indies) vulgar; sexually explicit, especially in dancehall music


Derived terms[edit]



slack (not comparable)

  1. Slackly.
    slack dried hops



slack (third-person singular simple present slacks, present participle slacking, simple past and past participle slacked)

  1. To slacken.
    • Robert South
      In this business of growing rich, poor men [] should slack their pace.
  2. (obsolete) To mitigate; to reduce the strength of.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.7:
      Ne did she let dull sleepe once to relent, / Nor wearinesse to slack her hast, but fled / Ever alike [...].
  3. (followed by “off”) to procrastinate; to be lazy
  4. (followed by “off”) to refuse to exert effort
  5. To lose cohesion or solidity by a chemical combination with water; to slake.
    Lime slacks.