1 : to cast off or become cast off
2 : to crumble slowly and fall away
3 : to get rid of or discard as irksome, objectionable, or disadvantageous
"The glue [that affixes the tiling to the hull] is exposed to a wide variety of environmental conditions, including big temperature swings as well as the pressures of operating at 1,000 feet beneath the surface. The friction of moving underwater tugs at the coating, and running into objects contributes to it gradually sloughing off." — Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 7 Mar. 2017
"After Monday’s [landslide], the Department of Public Works cut down two trees on the hillside, removed a loose mass of dirt that was unstable and reopened the road. But a significant chunk of the hillside sloughed off in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, with a valley resident alerting people that it had closed as early as 12:30 a.m." — Samantha Kimmey, Point Reyes Light (Marin County, California), 9 Mar. 2017
Did You Know?
There are two verbs spelled slough in English, as well as two nouns, and both sets have different pronunciations. The first noun, referring to a swamp or a discouraged state of mind, is pronounced to rhyme with either blue or cow; it derives from Old English slōh, which is akin to a Middle High German slouche, meaning "ditch." Its related verb, which can mean "to plod through mud," has the same pronunciation. The second noun, pronounced to rhyme with cuff, refers to the shed skin of a snake (as well as anything else that has been cast off). Its related verb describes the action of shedding or eliminating something, just like a snake sheds its skin. This slough derives from Middle English slughe and is distantly related to slūch, a Middle High German word meaning "snakeskin."
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to complete a verb that means "to cast off in thin scales or layers": _ _ f _ li _ te.VIEW THE ANSWER
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