"slough" (etc.)

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun May 27 22:10:46 UTC 2007

>A student--apropos of a discussion about "self" and "personal identity"
>(especially as related to bodily integrity) in literature and
>folklore--recently required me to read _My Sister's Keeper_ (2004), by
>Jodi Picoult (who, I have learned, is a leading author of chick books).
>The novel is about a young girl who was conceived and borne specifically
>to serve as an organ donor to her ailing elder sister. This sentence
>appears on p. 38, in a reminiscence of the girls' father about their
>teenaged brother: "I take the carving utensils and slice into the roast
>beef just as Jesse sloughs into the kitchen."
>Is anyone aware of a verb "slough" that can be used in that way?

Sort of. "Slough" (v.i.) = "plod [or move laboriously] [through mud or the
like]". It fits grammatically, but it seems to give a negative impression
of the vigor of the teenager and/or of the cleanliness of the house.

>.... If there IS such a word "slough," how would it be pronounced?

MW3 shows /slu/, /slau/, /slVf/ ... if I'm reading it right. The verb
"slog" (with the same meaning) MIGHT be the same word originally, I think.

>  Would the verb suggest the way one might walk in a (noun) slough?

Yes, this verb would. But I'm not sure this is the right verb.

-- Doug

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