slacker is a person who habitually avoids work or lacks work ethic .


According to different sources, the term slacker dates back to about 1790 or 1898. [1] [2] It gained some recognition during the British Gezira Scheme in the early to mid 20th century, when Sudanese laborers protested their relative powerlessness by working lethargically, a form of protest known as “slacking”. [3] [4]

World wars

1942 US poster posting against slacking in the workplace

In the United States during World War I , the word “slacker” was commonly used in the war effort, especially someone who avoids military service, an equivalent of the later term draft dodger . Attempts to track down such evaders were called slacker raids . [5] During World War I, US Senator Miles Poindexter discussed whether or not they had been managed properly. A San Francisco Chronicle headline on September 7, 1918, read: “Slacker is Doused in Barrel of Paint”. [6] [7]The term was also used during the World War II period in the United States. In 1940, Time quoted the US Army on managing the draft law effectively: “War is not going to wait while every slacker resorts to endless appeals.” [8]


The shift in the use of “slacker” from its draft-related meaning is unclear. In April 1948, The New Republic referred to “resentment against taxes levied to aid slackers”. [9] An article tracking the evolution of the term “slacker” in defamation lawsuits between World War I and 2010, entitled When Slacker Was a Dirty Word: Defamation and Draft Dodging During World War I, was written by Attorney David Kluft for the Trademark and Copyright Law Blog. [10]

Late 20th century onwards

The term Achieved Renewed popularity Following ict use in the 1985 movie Back to the Future in qui James Tolkan ‘s character Mr. Strickland Chronically Refers to Marty McFly , His Father George McFly, Biff Tannen , and a group of teenage delinquents in Part II have “slackers.” [11] It Gained subsequent exposure from the 1989 Superchunk single “Slack Motherfucker” and the 1991 movie Slacker . [12] The television series Rox has been noted for its “depiction of the slacker lifestyle … of the early ’90s”. [13] [14] [15]

Slacker est devenu Widely used in the 1990s to Refer to a subset of apathetic youth Who Were cynical and uninterested in political or social causes and have a stereotype for members of Generation X . [16] Richard Linklater , director of the aforementioned 1991 film, commented on the term meaning of a 1995 interview, stating that “I think the cheapest definition of a slacker would be someone who’s just lazy, hangin ‘out, doing nothing. I do not want to do that, but I do not know what to expect of you. [17]

The term has connotations of “apathy and aimlessness”. [18] It is also possible to refer to an educated person who may be viewed as an underachiever . [12]

Slackers have been the subject of many movies and television shows, particularly comedies. Later examples include the movie Slackers and Clerks , [19] The 2007 movie Slacker Uprising Describes an attempt to rouse Those under 30 to Participate in the 2004 US election . [20]

The Idler , a British magazine founded in 1993, represents an alternative to contemporary society’s work ethic and aims to return to the art of loafing. [21]

See also

  • Acedia , a state of listlessness
  • contrarian
  • Goldbricking , cyberslacking
  • Goofing off , engaging in idle pastime while obligations are neglected
  • Hikikomori , Japanese for social life
  • NEET , “Not in Employment, Education or Training”
  • Procrastination , putting off tasks to a later time
  • Refusal of work
  • slacktivism
  • Sloth , deadly sin
  • Work ethic


  1. Jump up^ “Online Etymology Dictionary, slack (adj.)” . Douglas Harper.
  2. Jump up^ “ slacker (noun)” . Editors of
  3. Jump up^ V. Bernal, “Colonial Moral Economy and the Discipline of Development: The Gezira Scheme and Modern Sudan”,Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 12, 1997, 447-79
  4. Jump up^ Robert Sydney Smith,Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-Colonial West Africa(University of Wisconsin Press1989), 54-62
  5. Jump up^ New York Times:”Take Slackers into Army”, September 10, 1918, accessed 21 April 2010
  6. Jump up^ Christopher Cappozolla,Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen(NY: Oxford University Press, 2008), 43-53, quotes 50, 229n
  7. Jump up^ For one of many uses of the word During the trial ofSacco and Vanzetti, see G. Louis Joughin and Edmund M. Morgan,The Legacy of Sacco and Vanzetti(NY: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1948), 119
  8. Jump up^ TIME:”The Draft: How it Works”, September 23, 1940, accessed 13 April 2011. See also:New York Times:”Wheeler Assails Bureau ‘Slackers'”, September 29, 1943, accessed 21 April 2010; New York Times:”Nazi Round Up Slackers Facing British 8th Army”, August 14, 1943, accessed 21 April 2010
  9. Jump up^ Michael Straight,Trial by Television and Other Encounters(NY: Devon Press, 1979), 76
  10. Jump up^ David Kluft (30 June 2014). “When” Slacker “Was A Dirty Word: Defamation And Draft Dodging During World War I” . . Retrieved 7 August 2017 .
  11. Jump up^ Internet Movie Database:”Memorable quotes for Back to the Future(1985)”, accessed 6 August 2010
  12. ^ Jump up to:b “slacker” . Random House, Inc. 2006.
  13. Jump up^ Kheiry, Jamal (8 April 1994). “Unstructured (Life Style Draws Cult Following”). LUX (IDS Entertainment Guide) .
  14. Jump up^ Hall, Steve (May 20, 1995). “In the realm of the uncensored”. The Indianapolis Star .
  15. Jump up^ Hammer, Steve; Poyser, Jim (18 January 1995). “J & B: Life on the ROX”. NUVO Newsweekly .
  16. Jump up^ ScrIibner, Sara (11 August 2013). “Generation X gets really old: How do slackers have a midlife crisis?” . Salon . Retrieved 19 June 2016 .
  17. Jump up^ Petrek, Melissa; Hines, Alan (1993). “Withdrawing in Disgust Is Not the Same as Apathy: Cutting Some Slack with Richard Linklater”. Mondo 2000 (9). p. 81.
  18. Jump up^ Compact Oxford English Dictionary. “slacker” .
  19. Jump up^ New York Times:Tom Lutz, “ Doing Nothing “, June 4, 2006accessed 6 August 2010, and excerpt Tom Lutz,Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America(NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006)
  20. Jump up^ Internet Movie Database: Slacker Uprising (2007), accessed 6 August 2010
  21. Jump up^ The Idler:”About The Idler”, accessed 6 August 2010

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *