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See also: Slough


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English slogh, slugh, slouh, from Proto-Germanic *sluk-, perhaps related to *sleupaną (to slip, sneak) (compare Gothic 𐍃𐌻𐌹𐌿𐍀𐌰𐌽 (sliupan)).

Akin to Middle Low German slô (sheath, skin on a hoof). Perhaps also related with Old Saxon slūk (snakeskin), Middle High German slūch, whence German Schlauch (waterskin, hose).

Alternative forms[edit]


  • enPR: slŭf, IPA(key): /slʌf/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌf


slough (countable and uncountable, plural sloughs)

  1. The skin shed by a snake or other reptile.
    That is the slough of a rattler; we must be careful.
    • 1886 October – 1887 January, H[enry] Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., published 1887, →OCLC:
      And without more ado she stood up and shook the white wrappings from her, and came forth shining and splendid like some glittering snake when she has cast her slough; ay, and fixed her wonderful eyes upon me - more deadly than any Basilisk's - and pierced me through and through with their beauty, and sent her light laugh ringing through the air like chimes of silver bells.
  2. Dead skin on a sore or ulcer.
    This is the slough that came off of his skin after the burn.


slough (third-person singular simple present sloughs, present participle sloughing, simple past and past participle sloughed)

  1. (transitive) To shed skin or outer layers.
    This skin is being sloughed.
    Snakes slough their skin periodically.
    • 2017 November, N. K. Jemisin, Mac Walters, chapter 16, in Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation[1], 1st edition (Science Fiction), Titan Books, →ISBN, →OCLC, page 293:
      When Harper came back into the infirmary of the Hyperion, Alec was laboriously trying to pull on his pants. His burned skin had healed over the intervening day, the damaged layer sloughed off and quickly replaced thanks to SAM’s efforts, but the buildup of waste products in Alec’s body from the accelerated healing had left him with sore muscles and achy joints.
  2. (intransitive) To slide off or flake off, as an outer layer, such as skin, might do.
    A week after he was burned, a layer of skin on his arm sloughed off.
    • 2013, Casey Watson, Mummy’s Little Helper: The heartrending true story of a young girl:
      The mud sloughed off her palms easily []
    • 1944 United States. Bureau of Mines · War Minerals Report 386. Google books
      The adit penetrated the vug ... and at this level ... it was filled with material that had ... sloughed off the walls.
    • 2013 April 13, Michael Mello, “Avalanche forecaster killed in Utah avalanche”, in Los Angeles Times:
      An avalanche sloughing off a Utah mountainside killed a state Department of Transportation avalanche forecaster while he was surveying snow levels near a popular winter recreation area, authorities reported.
  3. (transitive, card games) To discard.
    East sloughed a heart.
  4. (intransitive, slang, Western US) To commit truancy, be absent from school without permission.
    Synonym: ditch
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English slōh, probably from Proto-Germanic *slōhaz.



English Wikipedia has an article on:
Slough in Maxwell Township, Minnesota, USA.

slough (plural sloughs)

  1. (British) A muddy or marshy area.
    • 1881–1882, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, London, Paris: Cassell & Company, published 14 November 1883, →OCLC:
      "That comed - as you call it - of being arrant asses," retorted the doctor, "and not having sense enough to know honest air from poison, and the dry land from a vile, pestiferous slough.
  2. (Eastern United States) A type of swamp or shallow lake system, typically formed as or by the backwater of a larger waterway, similar to a bayou with trees.
    We paddled under a canopy of trees through the slough.
  3. (Western US) A secondary channel of a river delta, usually flushed by the tide.
    The Sacramento River Delta contains dozens of sloughs that are often used for water-skiing and fishing.
  4. A state of depression.
    John is in a slough.
  5. (Canadian Prairies) A small pond, often alkaline, many but not all formed by glacial potholes.
    Potholes or sloughs formed by a glacier’s retreat from the central plains of North America, are now known to be some of the world’s most productive ecosystems.
Derived terms[edit]