Slough vs slough

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Slough and slough are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. We will examine the definitions of the words slough and slough, where these words came from, and a few examples of their use in sentences.

Slough (sluff) means to shed skin or any other item. Slough is used literally, as in a snake sloughs his skin, or it may be used figuratively, as in a man sloughs off his bad reputation. Slough is occasionally used as a noun; related words are sloughs, sloughed, sloughing. The word slough is derived from the Middle English word slough, which meant the skin shed by a snake.

Slough (slew) is an American term which means an inlet that is only sometimes filled with water or a low place on the prairie which sometimes fills with water. Slough may also mean a swamp. The word slough is derived from the Old English word sloh, which means a muddy place.


This often causes the bank to undercut and slough off. (The North Platte Telegraph)

“There was something about horror—that thrill and anxiety when you’re watching something on a screen that isn’t real—that I believe was therapeutic to her, and helped her slough off some of that fear and anger.” (Vanity Fair Magazine)

The cabin was up river about a mile from Lock 8 on the Ouachita River, and about a half mile from the mouth of Bangs Slough. (The El Dorado News-Times)

Green, a 24-year-old Woodland resident, is charged with one count of murder in the death of her infant son, Justice Rees, who had died earlier that day after succumbing to cold-weather exposure down in the Ridge Cut Slough, his body found about 500 feet from where Villasenor encountered Green. (The Davis Enterprise)