Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
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 (one) some slack
To allow one more latitude or freedom than usual. Primarily heard in US, Australia. Oh, you know I never make requests like this, cut me some slack. A: "I can't believe she talked to me like that!" B: "You need to cut her some slack—she's grieving right now."
pick up the slack
To do an extra amount of work that someone else is unable or unwilling to do. I'm going to need you to pick up the slack around the house when the baby arrives, because I'm going to literally have my hands full. The fourth member of our team has been totally unreliable, so the rest of us have had to pick up the slack.
take up the slack
To do an extra amount of work that someone else is unable or unwilling to do. I'm going to need you to take up the slack around the house when the baby arrives, because I'm going to literally have my hands full. The fourth member of our team has been totally unreliable, so the rest of us have had to take up the slack.
cut someone a breakand 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.
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.
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!
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.
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]
cut someone some slackINFORMAL
If you cut someone some slack, you are less critical of their behaviour or performance than usual because you know they are in a difficult situation. When you're new at a job, colleagues and bosses cut you some slack. They forgive minor mistakes because you're new. Note: This expression is variable. Instead of some, people sometimes use words such as a little or a lot of. She's still upset about her dad. Cut her a little slack.
take up the slackor
pick up the slackINFORMAL
COMMON If someone or something takes up the slack or picks up the slack, they reduce the bad effect of something by providing something extra. With the export market in decline, it is hoped that the tourist trade will take up the slack. We have three members of staff absent and no one to pick up the slack. Note: If you take up the slack in a rope, you tighten it.
cut someone some slackallow someone some leeway; make allowances for someone's behaviour. North American informal
1998 Times Most, though, are willing to cut Spielberg some slack for the sake of cinematic interpretation.
take (or pick) up the slack1 pull on the loose end or part of a rope in order to make it taut. 2 use up a surplus or improve the use of resources to avoid an undesirable lull in business.
cut somebody some ˈslack(informal, especially American English) make things easier than usual for somebody; allow somebody more freedom to do things than they would normally have: I know I made a mistake, but it’s my first week on the job, so cut me some slack, OK?
take up the ˈslackimprove the way money or people are used in an organization: The export market has failed to take up the slack in recent years, which has led to financial losses.
The slack is the part of a rope that is hanging loosely. If there is no slack, the rope is tight.
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.
cut someone a breakand 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.