Definition of take (or pick) up the slack in US English:

take (or pick) up the slack

phrase

  • 1Use up a surplus or improve the use of resources to avoid an undesirable lull in business.

    ‘as domestic demand starts to flag, foreign demand will help pick up the slack’
    • ‘That means we have to count on business investment to pick up the slack.’
    • ‘The key to breaking the cycle is to boost demand and take up the slack in the economy.’
    • ‘Are the self-employed really taking up enough of the slack?’
    • ‘This is how a humane company avoids lay-offs - we take up the slack when someone leaves or retires and keep the headcount slim.’
    • ‘There is no room to pick up any of the slack with cars.’
    • ‘When a participating company goes out of business, others pick up the slack.’
    • ‘As the rain persists and reservoirs back up, homes, businesses and roads take up the slack.’
    • ‘Europe's economy picked up some of the slack, but it too is set to slow.’
    • ‘However, the barriers to entry aren't large, and new companies have come into being to take the slack.’
    • ‘That has ended, but strong demand for Internet-enabling software and consultancies has taken up the slack.’
    surplus, excess, residue, spare capacity
    View synonyms
  • 2Pull on the loose end or part of a rope in order to make it taut.

    • ‘As soon as DC felt weight on the rope he anchored like any good cow horse will and took up the slack in the rope.’
    • ‘The Instructor gave her a slap on the rump and then proceeded to take up the slack on the rope.’