From Middle English slaken(to render slack, to slake), from Old English sleacian, from sleac(slack).

The (modern) Swedish verb "släcka" retains most of the same meanings as listed below. For example: "släcka sin törst" meaning to quench one's thirst, "släcka elden" put out the fire, and "släckt kalk"; slaked lime.



slake (third-person singular simple present slakes, present participle slaking, simple past and past participle slaked)

  1. (intransitive, obsolete) Of a person: to become less energetic, to slacken in one's efforts. [11th-17thc.]
  2. (intransitive, obsolete) To slacken; to become relaxed or loose. [11th-16thc.]
    • (Can we date this quote?) Sir John Davies
      When the body's strongest sinews slake.
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To become less intense; to weaken, decrease in force. [14th-19thc.]
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter Primum, in Le Morte Darthur, book XVIII:
      wherfor the quene waxed wroth with sir Launcelot / and vpon a day she called sir launcelot vnto her chamber and saide thus / Sir launcelot I see and fele dayly that thy loue begynneth to slake / for thou hast no Ioye to be in my presence / but euer thou arte oute of thys Courte
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To go out; to become extinct.
  5. (transitive) To satisfy (thirst, or other desires); to quench; to extinguish. [from 14thc.]
    • 1991, David Koulack, To catch a dream: explorations of dreaming‎, page 98:
      In that study, some of the subjects had dreams in which they were slaking their thirst, very much like the dreams of convenience Freud described.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      It could not slake mine ire nor ease my heart.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Edmund Spenser
      slake the heavenly fire
  6. (transitive) To cool (something) with water or another liquid. [from 14thc.]
    • 1961, Lawrence Durrell, Justine, p.14:
      Notes for landscape tones. Long sequences of tempera. Light filtered through the essence of lemons. An air full of brick-dust - sweet smelling brick dust and the odour of hot pavements slaked with water.
  7. (intransitive) To become mixed with water, so that a true chemical combination takes place.
    The lime slakes.
  8. (transitive) To mix with water, so that a true chemical combination takes place.
    to slake lime


Derived termsEdit