Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Etymology Today from M-W: slake \SLAYK\
1 : satisfy, quench
2 : to cause (as lime) to heat and crumble by treatment with water : hydrate

"Slake" is no slacker when it comes to obsolete and archaic meanings. Shakespearean scholars may know that in the Bard's day "slake" meant "to subside or abate" ("No flood by raining slaketh...." - The Rape of Lucrece) or "to lessen the force of " ("It could not slake mine ire, nor ease my heart." - Henry VI, Part 3). The most erudite word enthusiasts may also be aware of earlier meanings of "slake," such as "to slacken one's efforts" or "to cause to be relaxed or loose." These early meanings recall the word's Old English ancestor "sleac," which not only meant "slack" but is also the source of that modern term.

Previous E.T.

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