take the slack up

take the slack up

1. To gather the loose section of rope or cable connected to something in order to make the line taut. Make sure you take the slack up, or the mainsail will start swinging out of control in this wind. One of the workers had failed to take the slack up, and the loose cable whipped around and severed his arm when the motor started up.
2. By extension, to do an extra amount of work that someone else is unable or unwilling to do. I'm going to need you to take the slack up around the house when the baby arrives. The fourth member of our team has been totally unreliable, so the rest of us have had to take the slack up for the entirety of this project.
See also: slack, take, 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
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