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or sluff

[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.
Origin of slough2
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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sloughed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The "social question" is solved; at least we are upon the way to "social peace," capitalism is saved, socialism is sloughed off.

  • I shall miss the incubus of the body, and the fleshly desires I have sloughed off with it.

    Jessamine Marion Harland
  • Their metallic tunics melted and sloughed as inner fires ate away the fragile garments that covered them!

    Assassin Jesse Franklin Bone
  • The short winter day sloughed off suddenly, and it was dark when they rose from the table.

    Just Around the Corner Fannie Hurst
  • Now, those lads that we left back in Utica will more than likely get sloughed into jail when they get to boozin'.

    Tramping with Tramps Josiah Flynt
  • If traces of such a belief existed, they have been sloughed off.

    Modern Mythology Andrew Lang
  • Under his scorn her anger kindled and her humility was sloughed.

  • Nasmyth sloughed off his dripping garments, and was asleep in five minutes after he had crawled into his bunk.

    The Greater Power Harold Bindloss
  • The modest spinster and the bashful bachelor seemed to have sloughed off their former natures.

    Carolyn of the Corners Ruth Belmore Endicott
British Dictionary definitions for sloughed


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 sloughed



"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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sloughed 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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sloughed 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 sloughed



To waste time; to start to lose momentum or interest in a project: sloughing off on the homework

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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