9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[slou for 1, 2, 4; sloo for 3] /slaʊ for 1, 2, 4; slu for 3/
an area of soft, muddy ground; swamp or swamplike region.
a hole full of mire, as in a road.
Also, slew, slue. Northern U.S. and Canadian. a marshy or reedy pool, pond, inlet, backwater, or the like.
a condition of degradation, despair, or helplessness.
Origin of slough1
before 900; Middle English; Old English slōh; cognate with Middle Low German slōch, Middle High German sluoche ditch


[sluhf] /slʌf/
the outer layer of the skin of a snake, which is cast off periodically.
Pathology. a mass or layer of dead tissue separated from the surrounding or underlying tissue.
anything that is shed or cast off.
Cards. a discard.
verb (used without object)
to be or become shed or cast off, as the slough of a snake.
to cast off a slough.
Pathology. to separate from the sound flesh, as a slough.
Cards. to discard a card or cards.
verb (used with object)
to dispose or get rid of; cast (often followed by off):
to slough off a bad habit.
to shed as or like a slough.
Cards. to discard (cards).
Verb phrases
slough over, to treat as slight or trivial:
to slough over a friend's mistake.
Also, sluff.
1250-1300; Middle English slughe, slouh skin of a snake; cognate with German Schlauch skin, bag
Related forms
sloughiness, noun
sloughy, adjective
unsloughed, adjective
unsloughing, adjective
6. molt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for slough
  • Farther down, the doctors rummage under the slough of intestines as though through a poorly organized toolbox.
  • Cells that slough into the bloodstream can take hold at distant sites-and a metastasis is born.
  • It is far too complicated, automatically guarantees a slough of litigation and despond, and has minimal effect on college quality.
  • And even when it is time to slough that skin, after years of service, it does not come off easily.
  • They find the buck in a backwater slough thrashing around in six feet of water, having broken through the ice.
  • Eventually a red giant's gas envelope will slough off entirely, leaving behind a dense stellar corpse known as a white dwarf.
  • The hillsides often slough away draining the ponds into the surrounding watershed.
  • Fortunately, there's more than one way to slough off a layer of skin.
  • With ovarian cancer, metastasis occurs when cells slough off the primary tumor and float free in the abdominal cavity.
  • Our brains slough this ability away as a butterfly sheds its pupal skin.
British Dictionary definitions for slough


a hollow filled with mud; bog
(US & Canadian) (sluː)
  1. (in the prairies) a large hole where water collects or the water in such a hole
  2. (in the northwest) a sluggish side channel of a river
  3. (on the Pacific coast) a marshy saltwater inlet
despair or degradation
Derived Forms
sloughy, adjective
Word Origin
Old English slōh; related to Middle High German sluoche ditch, Swedish slaga swamp


any outer covering that is shed, such as the dead outer layer of the skin of a snake, the cellular debris in a wound, etc
(bridge) Also sluff. a discarded card
(often foll by off) to shed (a skin, etc) or (of a skin, etc) to be shed
(bridge) Also sluff. to discard (a card or cards)
Derived Forms
sloughy, adjective
Word Origin
C13: of Germanic origin; compare Middle Low German slū husk, German Schlauch hose, Norwegian slō fleshy part of a horn


an industrial town in SE central England, in Slough unitary authority, Berkshire; food products, high-tech industries. Pop: 126 276 (2001)
a unitary authority in SE central England, in Berkshire. Pop: 118 800 (2003 est). Area: 28 sq km (11 sq miles)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for slough

"muddy place," Old English sloh "soft, muddy ground," of uncertain origin. Cf. Middle Low German sloch "muddy place," Middle High German sluoche "ditch." Figurative use (e.g. of moral sunkenness or Bunyan's "Slough of Despond," 1678) attested from mid-13c.

"cast-off skin" (of a snake or other animal), early 14c., slughe, slouh, probably related to Old Saxon sluk "skin of a snake," Middle High German sluch "snakeskin, wineskin," Middle Low German slu "husk, peel, skin," German Schlauch "wineskin;" from Proto-Germanic *sluk-, of uncertain origin, perhaps from PIE root *sleug- "to glide."


"to cast off" (as the skin of a snake or other animal), 1720, originally of diseased tissue, from Middle English noun slough "shed skin of a snake" (see slough (n.)). Related: Sloughed; sloughing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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slough in Medicine

slough (slŭf)
A layer or mass of dead tissue separated from surrounding living tissue, as in a wound, a sore, or an inflammation. v. sloughed, slough·ing, sloughs
To separate from surrounding living tissue. Used of dead tissue.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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slough in Science
Noun  The dead outer skin shed by a reptile or an amphibian.

Verb  To shed an outer layer of skin.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for slough



A slot machine; one-arm bandit: The slots are going day and night (1950+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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