slacken

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Related to slackens: slacken off
References in classic literature ?
It might be thought that, in his anxiety, he would be constantly watching the changes of the wind, the disorderly raging of the billows--every chance, in short, which might force the Mongolia to slacken her speed, and thus interrupt his journey.
Several eager hands were extended to receive the line, and, both ropes being equally well manned, the fishermen commenced hauling in with slow, and steady drags, Richard standing to the centre, giving orders, first to one party, and then to the other, to increase or slacken their efforts, as occasion required.
The doctor lit the combustible in his cylinder and turned the flame so as to produce a rapid heat, and the balloon, which had rested on the ground in perfect equipoise, began to rise in a few minutes, so that the seamen had to slacken the ropes they held it by.
As I trotted along, however, chewing the cud of - bitter fancies, I heard another horse at no great distance behind me; but I never conjectured who the rider might be, or troubled my head about him, till, on slackening my pace to ascend a gentle acclivity, or rather, suffering my horse to slacken his pace into a lazy walk - for, rapt in my own reflections, I was letting it jog on as leisurely as it thought proper - I lost ground, and my fellow- traveller overtook me.
They had proceeded above three miles, when Partridge, being unable any longer to keep up with Jones, called to him, and begged him a little to slacken his pace: with this he was the more ready to comply, as he had for some time lost the footsteps of the horses, which the thaw had enabled him to trace for several miles, and he was now upon a wide common, where were several roads.
Tension never slackens, acting is generally above par for this kind of thing, and Wan - making his feature debut - stages and cuts the often-complicated action well.