give leeway, cut some slack


Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
Cut some slack is British slang for to give leeway, to relieve the pressure.

Hi, do you think "give someone leeway" can mean, as the page says, "cut some slack"? I don't see "give leeway" would work as well as "cut some slack" in the following context because it doesn't have the meaning "treat someone less severely than usual". Do you agree?

Context: Suppose I went to my favorite restaurant for dinner. It was a busy Monday night and the service was slow. I could hear clattering, smashing and screaming in the kitchen, so it must have been a chaos inside. After waiting over an hour, my dish finally arrived but it wasn't as good as usual. I debated not tipping them and writing a bad review on a famous review website when I got home, but seeing that the restaurant was understaffed on an unusual busy Monday night and I knew the service wasn't always like that, I decided to cut them some slack (gave them a little leeway) and left them a two-dollar tip.
  • Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    "cut some slack" is certainly used in America. I wouldn't use "give leeway" here. To me it means "give somebody permission to act within certain bounds": not the case here.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Cut some slack is British slang
    Ummm - your source describes "cut someone some slack" as [North] American slang, redgiant, and so does the WR English dictionary;). It is used in BrE too, though.

    I think a BrE speaker could use either "cut them some slack" or "give them a little leeway" in your context.


    Senior Member
    British English
    1. I have never thought of "cut some slack" as being British. I've never used it, never heard it and rarely seen it.

    2. I think that your suggested use of "gave them a little leeway" in the restaurant is fine. I think that its origin gives you plenty of scope in its use - they have gone off track, but you'll allow for that when coming to a judgement.


    PS. Loob's post - I think that probably makes it 5 times now .


    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    A woman filed a lawsuit accusing a police officer of bursting her breast implant during an arrest. The piece has sparked off quite a discussion. Here's one of the comments in the comment section at the end of the story:

    Usually I give the cops leeway-but this kind of force is not warranted for an unpaid ticket warrant. This is not a violent felon who had an assault or manslaughter warrant issued.
    Rebecca Van Hooser, Arlington Woman, Sues Pantego Police For Ruptured Breast Implant

    Is "giving the cops leeway" more a case of tolerating than permitting what the cops do?
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