Middle English Dictionary Entry

slāken v.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. aslaken v., forslaken v., slechen v., slekken v.
1.
(a) To loosen (ropes, bonds, a bridle, etc.); also fig.; also, release (sb. from prison or confinement); ~ nekke, of a lion: release (himself from his chain); ~ net, let down a net (to catch fish); ~ rif, let out a reef; (b) to cause (sinews, muscular tissue) to be loosened or become slack; also fig.; relax (one's hands), let down; also, of hands: relax as the result of muscular strain, droop; (c) to relax (a rule); soften (a judgment), mitigate (penance), make less harsh; ~ honde(s, be lenient or indulgent; (d) to cause (iron, earth) to lose hardness or density, soften, or melt; (e) to release (a spear); (f) to loosen, become slack.
2.
(a) To relieve (sorrow, grief, woe); console (sb.), solace; release (sb. from distress or sorrow); -- also refl.; (b) to alleviate (pain, swelling, inflammation); also, remedy (a disease); also, relieve (sb. of pain); ~ with, alleviate (sickness); ~ wombe, relieve the pain in (someone's) stomach; (c) to remedy (sin, guilt); (d) to calm (wrath, an angry mood); dispel (malice); also, calm (the motion of the sea).
3.
(a) To end, come to an end or a conclusion, cease; ~ in, end in (sorrow); ~ of here figure, lose their form or essence, cease to exist in their present state; (b) to stop (sth.), cease (to do sth.); bring (sth.) to an end, cause (sth.) to cease; also, neglect (sth.) [last quot.]; ~ bost, put an end to (someone's) pride; (c) to relent (from sth.), let up; be turned aside (from sth.), be diverted; also fig.
4.
(a) To diminish in force, strength, or intensity; abate; of the weather: become calm; (b) of the senses: to diminish in power, lose acuity; (c) to decrease in amount or value; diminish, run out; (d) to make (sb.) weak; diminish (sth.), subdue, vitiate, lessen; slake thi herte, humble yourself.
5.
(a) To slack off, relax effort; fail (to accomplish sth.); weaken in trying (to do sth.); (b) to retreat; slacken an attack; cease fighting; ~ awei, slink off; slake a bor, ?may a boar retreat (in the face of their boasting); (c) to become weak or enervated; also, become weak sexually, lose sexual power; of a fruit: wither, rot.
6.
(a) To extinguish (a fire), quench; also fig.; also, reduce (heat), cool; (b) of fire, hellfire, something that is burning, etc.: to go out; (c) to pour (a liquid); (d) to slake (thirst, hunger, sexual desire).