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1. With one's mouth hanging open, as due to surprise or dim-wittedness. I had to clear away the people who were standing slack-jawed on the side of the road, staring at the car wreck.
2. Moronic; very slow or dim-witted. I tried asking for directions at the gas station, but there was just some slack-jawed yokel working behind the counter.

cut someone a break

 and cut someone some slack
Sl., to give someone a break; to allow someone a reprieve from the consequences of an action. Come on, cut me a break! I'm a good guy! I was only a few minutes late! Cut me a break! Don't dock my pay! Cut me some slack and I'll be sure to pay you all I owe in a month.
See also: break, cut

slack off

1. to taper off; to reduce gradually. Business tends to slack off during the winter months. The storms begin to slack off in April.
2. [for someone] to become lazy or inefficient. Near the end of the school year, Sally began to slack off, and her grades showed it. John got fired for slacking off during the busy season.
See also: off, slack

slack up (on something)

 and slack off (on something)
to release the pressure or tension on something. Slack up on the rope a bit, will you? Please slack off!
See also: slack, up

take the slack up

1. Lit. to tighten a rope that is holding something loosely. Take the slack up if you can. This clothesline is too loose. Do something to take up the slack.
2. Fig. to do what needs to be done; to do what has been left undone. Do I have to take the slack up? Jill did her job poorly and I have to take up the slack.
See also: slack, take, up

cut somebody some slack

to give someone additional freedom I'm going to cut you some slack. Because it's the last day of classes, we don't have to talk anything serious today. If you and your kids don't agree about their futures, cut them some slack - explain your views, but don't try to force them to agree.
See also: cut, slack

pick up the slack

also take up the slack
to do something when someone else cannot or will not do it With our best player injured, other players picked up the slack. Who will take up the slack when our grant money runs out?
See also: pick, slack, up

slack off

1. to work less hard than is usual or necessary Workers tend to slack off on Mondays and Fridays.
2. to become less severe or extreme If this rain would slack off, we could finish the work outside.
See also: off, slack

cut somebody some slack

  (American & Australian informal)
to allow someone to do something that is not usually allowed, or to treat someone less severely than is usual Officials have asked the Environmental Protection Agency to cut Utah some slack in enforcing the Clean Air Act.
See also: cut, slack

pick/take up the slack

  (American & Australian informal)
to do the work which someone else has stopped doing, but which still needs to be done When Sue starts going out to work each day, Bob and the kids will have to take up the slack and help more at home.
See cut some slack
See also: pick, slack, up

slack off

Decrease in activity or intensity, as in If business ever slacks off we can go on vacation, or When the project fell behind schedule again, she thought we were slacking off. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: off, slack

slack off

1. To decrease in activity or intensity: Tourism on Cape Cod usually slacks off around September.
2. To evade work; shirk: High school seniors tend to slack off once they get accepted to college.
See also: off, slack

cut someone a break

and cut someone some slack
tv. to give someone a break; to allow someone a reprieve from the consequences of an action. Come on! Cut me a break! I won’t do it again! Cut me some slack and I’ll be sure to pay you all I owe in a month.
See also: break, cut

cut someone some slack

See also: cut, slack
References in periodicals archive ?
Built with a social network-style activity stream to collaborate on CRM updates, Wealthbox also has @-mentioning, commenting, liking, and even emojis -- like Slack -- related to CRM workflows.
Slack, says its co-founder, can provide the sort of "nuanced, intimate communication" not available with e-mail.
Slack was self-employed as a manufacturer's representative for industrial products.
1 Hence, "Is there significant slack in the labor market?
The officer estimated Slack was driving at around 50 to 60mph in the 30mph street when he raced past him and turned left into Aigburth Drive.
Before joining Derek Slack Motors, I served my time in a small independent garage, moving on to a position with Kwik-Fit where I was voted 'Fitter of the Year' before becoming branch manager.
The impact of organizational slack on firm outcomes has been perceived as both a positive and a negative.
At that point, Allison says, Slack made him leave the building.
With one shop in North Bay and another in Thompson, we're a bit spread out," said Slack.
A jury ruled failures by police "more than minimally contributed" to the deaths of Ms Slack and son Auden, 23 months, in June 2010.
During an inquest at Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner's Court, which began last month, jurors heard that Cairns had been struggling with declining mental health since the breaK-up of his relationship with Ms SlacK in 2009.
They recorded verdicts of unlawful killing in respect of Ms Slack and Auden, and found that Cairns took his own life.
IF THERE are any golden rules about setting up a stud, Mary Slack chose to ignore the lot of them when purchasing Wilgerbosdrift in 1997.
Richard Slack punched one man, knocking him to the ground and causing a wound to the back of his head.