slack

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slack-jawed

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

(spoken)
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

v.
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

verb
See also: cut, slack
References in periodicals archive ?
5 percent, and supports market forecasts that the world's second-largest economy could grow at its slackest annual pace in 13 years this year at 8.
When the two sides met at The Hawthorns in October the hosts were at their slackest and although they played some delightful football to score three times, they defended horrendously and conceded three as well.
The French outfit deserve their day in the limelight, but there is no doubt that the victory that brought them this far came courtesy of one of the slackest performances ever seen from the Vikings.
It should lie flush against your skin and to get proper wear out of it you should start off on the slackest hook and, as the bra stretches, move it up onto higher levels.
I Would Die 4 You has twin lead vocals; imagine a late seventies Mick Jagger coming on to the Tom Tom Club's Tina Weymouth, while Issac Hayes guitar funks over the slackest, loosest most subterranean bass sounds imaginable.
When I arrived at the Leicester centre at 11am they had already answered 480 calls - and that at one of the slackest periods of the year, the first week in August when many people are on holiday.
RETAIL SPENDING SLOWS: Growth in retail spending slowed in 1997 to the slackest pace since the recession.