Slough vs. Slew

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Slough and slew are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of slough and slew, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A slough 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.

The word slew has several meanings. First, slew is the past tense of the word slay which means to kill. Slew may also mean to slide or turn in an uncontrollable manner. In this case, related words are slews, slewed, slewing. The word slew may also mean an enormous amount of something, such as a slew of children. This use of the word slew is derived from the Old Irish word slúag which means a throng or army.


“If you had been here 100 years ago, you would not see the green or the white (live or dead algae),” said Wasson, a research coordinator at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. (The Mercury News)

Stockton police say citizens nearby reported a man down in a homeless encampment in the slough about 11:16 a.m. (The Stockton Record)

The tweet went viral, amassing over 55,000 retweets in the days that followed — and quickly inspiring a slew of parody tweets from those who preferred to pledge support to THEIR would-be presidents. (The Washington Post)

Angela Reading, a student support worker, had her Citroen Picasso badly damaged when the van slewed across the road wrecking the front of her vehicle on which she had just spent around £1,000 in repairs, maintenance and MoT work. (The Leicester Mercury)

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