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From Middle English slaken (to render slack, to slake), from Middle 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.]
    • 1740, John Dyer, “The Ruins of Rome. A Poem.”, in Poems. [...] Viz. I. Grongar Hill. II. The Ruins of Rome. III. The Fleece, in Four Books, London: Printed by John Hughs, for Messrs. R[obert] and J[ames] Dodsley, [], published 1759, OCLC 991281870, pages 42–43:
      Tyrian garbs, / Neptunian Albion's high teſtaceous food [i.e., oysters], / And flavour'd Chian wines with incenſe fum'd / To ſlake Patrician thirſt: for theſe, their rights / In the vile ſtreets they proſtitute to ſale; / Their ancient rights, their dignities, their laws, / Their native glorious freedom.
    • 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.
    • 1923, Liam O'Flaherty, “Saturday”, in Thy Neighbour's Wife, 1st paperback edition, Wolfhound Press, →ISBN, page 214:
      The booths of the publicans gazed shamelessly at the sun, with two empty porter barrels as supports at their doors, ready to smile at their clients with their seductive roundness, ready to lure the thirsty islanders into the gloomy recesses beneath the canvas, where Mulligan's assistant or Mrs Moroney's assistant would hand out frothy pints of porter and glistening tumblers of whisky to slake the thirst and set the blood tingling.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      It could not slake mine ire nor ease my heart.
    • (Can we date this quote?) 16th Century, 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



Norwegian BokmålEdit



  1. definite singular/plural of slak

Norwegian NynorskEdit



  1. definite singular/plural of slak