Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
SLACK, adj., n.1, v.1 Sc. usages:
I. adj. 1. Of money: scarce, not plentiful, not duly repaid (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.); of persons: short of money, hard-up (Ags., Slg., Fif., w.Lth., Lnk. 1970).
Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems Gl.:
Siller's slack, money is ill to raise. Fif. 1951 :
Are ye ticht or slack?
2. Of a ewe: past breeding age, superannuated, about to be sold for meat as a Crock, q.v. (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Gall. 1903 E.D.D.). Cf. II. 3.
Dmb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVII. 260:
54 draft or slack ewes, at 6s. 6d. Peb. 1802 C. Findlater Agric. Peb. 69:
The cast-off breeding ewes, when sold at Martinmas, are designed slack ewes. Arg. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 VII. 113:
About 150 slack ewes are wintered on the low pasture, and sold, with their lambs, to the butchers in summer. Sc. 1884 Crofters' Comm. Evidence I. 820:
Do they sell their slack ewes? — Yes; they send them away, principally to Glasgow.
3. Of places or buildings: untenanted, unfrequented, thinly occupied, not busy.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
The kirk was slack. Rnf. 1827 W. Taylor Poems 38:
Since the house is slack, Stop yer cleaning, let's hae a crack. Sc. 1834 Tait's Mag. I. 321:
There are plenty of empty or slack hotels in Edinburgh.
4. Of persons: untrustworthy, of loose moral character; slow to pay one's debts, financially unreliable (Sc. 1808 Jam.).
II. n. 1. A slackening, loosening. Gen.Sc.
Abd. 1882 T. Mair John o' Arnha' 23:
Then for freedom o' his back, He gae his gallawses a slack.
2. A loose part or end of anything, a flap; anything slack or loose (Sh., Cai. 1970). Dim. slackie, “a kind of sling used by schoolboys”, a catapult (Fif., Lth. 1825 Jam.), but the evidence for this is not clearly stated.
Sh. 1892 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 10:
Seemun I yoks bi da slack o da lug.
3. A ewe which has passed the age for breeding and is about to be fattened for slaughter, a Crock, a reduced form of slack ewe, see I. 2. above.
Slk. 1819 Hogg Tales (1874) 141:
Slacks will be sleek, a hogg for the howking.
III. v. 1. intr. To slacken off, become less tense or active, to grow flaccid (Sh., Cai., Ags., Kcb. 1970); to cease work, knock off, prob. fig. from slackening the traces of a work-horse.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 143:
How maun their weyms wi' sairest hunger slack. Lth. 1825 Jam.:
A tumour is said to slack. Dmf. 1831 R. Shennan Tales 37:
When business had begun to slack. Abd. 1969 Huntly Express (10 Jan.) 3:
“Aye, laddie, ye've gotten slackit” was a common greeting to a man who had finished work for the day.
2. tr. To reduce (a debt) by a repayment.
Abd. 1969 Huntly Express (10 Jan.) 3:
“That'll slack it a bittie”, in reference to a big instalment towards paying off a debt.
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"Slack adj., n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2019 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/slack_adj_n1_v1>
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