A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)
Slak(e, Slaik, v. Also: slaike, slayke, scla(i)k, slack, slakk-. [ME and e.m.E. slake(n (c1220), slak (Cursor M.), sclake (16th c.), early ME also slakien (c1175), OE slacian, f. slæc, Slak adj. Cf. Slok(e v., Slok(k)in v.] tr.
1. Only Doug.: To release, let out (sail, a horse's reins) in order to gain speed.
We … went on burd … Syne slakis down the schetis and maid sayll [L. velorum pandimus alas]; Doug. iii viii 28.
Now the le schete, and now the luf, thai slak; Doug. v xiv 7.
Ay mar and mair dredand persute behynd, Sclakand schetis, and haldand rowme at large; Doug. viii xii 83.
Sclaik; Doug. x v 34.
Sum hasty … at the flycht Sclakis thar brydillys, spurrand in all thar mycht; Doug. xi xvii 48.
(b) The cartaris smate thar horssis fast in teyn With renȝeys slakkyt; Doug. v iii 84.
Thar renȝeis … With hys awin handys leit do slyp and slakkis [Ruddim. slakis]; Doug. v xiii 123.
b. To slacken, loosen, cause a release of tension.
One schip did spedalye approche … And syne did slake hir salis, and gan to creip towart the land; Lynd. Dreme 1020.
Quhen that the peple doith repent Than God sall slak his bow, quhilk ȝit is bent; Lynd. Mon. 72.
Some sailes pull in, … some tacklings slacks; Mure Dido & Æneas i 280.
d. fig. To relax control.
If we do but a little slack our hand in watching, … atheistical thoughts may on a sudden break; Pitcairn Spiritual Sacrifice 453.
2. To reduce, mitigate or remit (a penalty); to relax or abandon (a siege); to end (a quarrel); to give up (an intention); to fail to carry out (an action). b. With personal object: To pardon (a person). c. Const. infin. d. Quasi-absol.
Nor ther sall nayn of thir mendis wyth ony prayer be loussit na slakyt; Acts I 90*/1.
At ȝour requeist He sall gang fre … Than Venus bad do slaik sone my arreist; Doug. Pal. Hon. 1003.
Quhar the said Thomas occupyit nocht the said hous ve ordand sa meikill of the maill to be slakit [pr. salakit]; 1527–8 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 93.
That for pete of thame he [sc. the besieger] suld slaik the sege; Abell 17b.
The squyer hartlie him ressauit … And sa did slaik that mortall feid; Lynd. Meldrum 1141.
Thankand ȝour grace that … Ȝour sonnis deid … ȝe haue done slaik; Rolland Seven S. 1990.
The seueritie of that sentence mitigatet efterward was and slaked, till perpetual prisone; Dalr. II 473/9.
Dalr. II 143/26.
That yow have … slaked and delayed the executioun of the said commissioun; 1627 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. II 25.
b. Quhen the Duke put thé to banischment … he was diligent To get thy peax and slaik thé of that weir; 1570 Sat. P. xxiii 28.
c. To dance that nycht thay said sho sould not slak … And baid fra bed vntill sho hard the crak; 1567 Sat. P. iii 69.
d. Remitto, to send back, to slack; Duncan App. Etym.
3. To assuage, mitigate, ease, occas. to the point of cessation (sorrow, pain, etc.). b. With personal object: To relieve (a person) of (sorrow or pain), to comfort (a person).
Allace! ded, quhen wil thu tak Me & [al] my sorou slak? Leg. S. xxix 497.
The deid tharoff is ȝeit in remembrance, I will lat slaik off sorow the ballance; Wall. xi 1138.
It wyl slak sum part of sowrowis ser Of othir wyffys the sorow for to her; Bernardus 147.
Slake; Bernardus 146.
Uhan shall my sorowfull sighing slayke; Wode's Psalter (Treble) 154.
Hald ȝour tung Ȝour paynis to slaik; Montg. Suppl. ix 43.
Vhilk slaiks my sorou, so to heir thé sing; Montg. Sonn. li 5.
(b) Dolor after death, Should slack; Forbes Cantus (1666) xxiv.
b. Prayand thame … Hyme of his sorou for to slake; Leg. S. xxxix 254.
He wyth his wordis gan slaik thar mynd and swage; Doug. i iii 99.
Salues, to slaik thé of thy saires; Polwart Flyt. 230 (H).
He being now slaiked, is like a bruised lamb … that seems to be eased [etc.]; Dickson Wr. 58.
4. To reduce or moderate the force or intensity of (a passion, conviction, courage, anger, disease, etc). b. With personal object, const. of the passion.
Vse derth, O lord, … And slak thy plaig that is so penetryfe; Henr. Prayer 26.
Quhar men may weipe, thar curage is the less; It slakis ire off wrang thai suld radres; Wall. vi 224.
He thocht to slaik Makfadȝanys hie curage; Wall. vii 672.
For to stanche & slaike thair pryde I sall [etc.]; Asl. MS I 200/8.
I … Do slaik my wraith; Doug. Pal. Hon. 980.
This batell aduersare, has nocht aluterlie slakkit ȝoure curage; Boece 238.
How we sall slaik the greit murmell Of pure peopill; Lynd. Sat. 2538 (Ch.).
We … fyndis our seiknes no thing slaikit; 1570 Cal. Sc. P. III 435.
Huntlie … sa sharplie … sett on thame that thay … the Inglismen, slaiking thair force, cam never twa myles beyond Tueide; Dalr. II 255/7.
Nouther to slaik ony thing of thair furie afor tha had won Edinburgh; Dalr. II 405/15.
I heard my uncl Francis was drawing near his end; that he had noe desir of Mr. James Urquhart's compani, for he did slak his grounds; 1676 Brodie Diary 356.
b. The Inglischemen … slaikit of thair curage, tuike porpos … to … flie; Pitsc. I 398/3.
5. To satisfy (an appetite or desire); also, to vent (one's anger) on. b. With personal object.
(1) Syster, ȝe watte, of sic as him a scoir May nocht suffise to slak ȝour appetyte; Henr. Fab. 526 (Bann.).
Thus gat he noucht his t[h]rist to slake no[r] mend; Henr. Orph. 281 (Ch. & M.).
Bot he suld drink ineuch … to slake the birnand thrist; Henr. Orph. 558.
Henr. Fab. 2619.
(2) The goddis … among them selfis accord On me thair yre to slaik; Maitl. Q. 250/23.
b. Granting to euerie kirk man his prettie vinche vith quhome sindrie tymes he can nocht be slakit; Hamilton Cath. Tr. in Cath. Tr. (STS) 84/16.
Ȝe said, and he war the Devillis man, ȝe had gevin to him the thing that wald slaik him [sc. he had killed him]; 1609 Crim. Trials III 75.
Have ye not als good teachers as are in the land? … may ye not be slaiked with your owne?; Calderwood VII 603.
c. transf. ? To consume (a quantity of liquid (cf. Point n.3)) in a greedy fashion or ? an example of Slaik v. in the sense: To consume in a messy fashion, to lick up.
This usage is not exactly paralleled in the fairly extensive later and mod. use of Slaik v.
Ye look lyk a sow slacking a poynt; Ferg. Prov. MS No. 1590.
7. ? To overwhelm, overcome.
James Earle of Douglas … past fordwart with displayit banner to slaike the kingis airmie … quhilk nochtwithtstanding being mekill les nor the Earle of Douglas airmie ȝeit they excellit far in strength and curage abone thair enemeis; Pitsc. I 121.
8. intr. Of a cloud: To release (rain).
Quhen the cloud slaikis, the rane our-strenklys the erde; Wisd. Sol. 475.
9. Of courage, sorrow, disease, etc.: To diminish, lessen or become less intense, to moderate or subside.
A man he slew ay at a straik. The layff fled fast; thus can the power slaik; Wall. xi 128.
That … the hardyment of the army suld nocht slaik, the kingis chargeit [etc.]; Boece 266.
Gif the pest slakit ane litill, thai suld glaidly send support; Bell. Livy I 250/10.
Thair curage than begynnis for to slaik, Waxand … dull and sad; Stewart 10297.
Remeid, To caus the seiknes fra the heid to slaik; Stewart 13225.
Rolland Ct. Venus i 346.
The myst scalyt [1570 slaikit], the son schawyt fayr and brycht; Wall. xi 528.
The feuer began to slaik; Hume 95/33.
Els dolour, eftir death, Suld slaik, vhen I war slane; Montg. Misc. P. xx 4.
b. Of a person or animal: To undergo a reduction or diminution, also, to the point of cessation, in respect of (an emotion, attitude, etc.); to weaken or fail in (some respect); to cease from, of an activity. Also without const.
(1) On othir thing he maid his witt to walk, Prefand giff he mycht off that languor slaik [M. slalk]; Wall. v 656.
Se ȝe be blyth and glaid, And slaik also of all ȝour syte and sorrow; Stewart 35983.
I will ȝow exhort … To slaik of ȝour sleuth, & schaw furth the treuth; G. Ball. 232.
(2) Thai slaik, and failȝe in corage; Boece 255.
(3) My body bad lat be, And of thy siching slaik; Scott xx 44.
The fleeis els full, from sucking more will slake; Craig i 13.
They will be busy when their master or mistress are looking to them, but when their back is turned, then they slack of that; Henderson Serm. 339.
(4) The peple, throuch the dinn and cry tha maid, slaiket nocht lytle; Dalr. II 214/32.
I must not slack, For by and by the tide will call us back; Adamson Muses Thr. I 94.
Quhen the cow slack'd, they haue a way to presse her nipples [etc.]; Balfour Ann. III 427.
You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.
"Slak(e v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Sep 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/slake_v>
Try an Advanced Search