"slough" (etc.)

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Sun May 27 22:34:31 UTC 2007

Well, Doug, I could have walked down the hall from my office and looked the word up in Webster's Third, but I didn't! And the online OED fails to record that particular sense of the verb. So, thanks.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Sun, 27 May 2007 18:10:46 -0400
>From: "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
>Subject: Re: "slough" (etc.)
>>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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