Green’s Dictionary of Slang

slough v.

also slough in
[SE slough, to be swallowed up; ult. slough, a piece of soft, muddy ground]

1. usu. of individuals, to lock up, to put in prison; also fig. use (see cite 1919).

[US]Ladies’ Repository (N.Y.) Oct. VIII:37 317/1: Slough, to lock [...].
[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 211: ‘[L]as’ night business is so much on de bum ’long ’bout two o’clock dat I get sore and slough her [i.e. a bar] up an’ go on home’.
[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 69: ’[H]e’s [...] figurin how they come to overlook him when they sloughed the gaff’.
[US]J. London Road 162: Stay on the decks till youse pass Roseville junction, at which burg the constables are horstile, sloughin’ in everybody on sight.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Dec. 44/2: The policeman swallows his furtively, and then says ‘Good-night’ and leaves. / ‘’Andy ter be in with the John Dunns,’ says the youth with the foxy face. [...] / ‘Drinks widger to-night, sloughs yer in ter-morrer.’.
[US]J. Lait ‘Charlie the Wolf’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 56: You ain’t gonna slough that lad. You ain’t got no reason to. You’ll tell the court an’ he’ll let him go.
[US]Perrysburg Jrnl (Wood Co., OH) 22 May 2/1: I thought I never would kick in on this here Love whirl, but have sloughed me for fair.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 87: They’ll [...] haul us over to Martinez, the county seat, an’ slough us in the county jail.
[US]G. Milburn ‘They Can’t Do That’ in Hobo’s Hornbook 233: They slough you in a lousy, rotten cell / In the dear old county jail.
[US]C.R. Cooper Designs in Scarlet 135: It’s the Chief’s orders. All the dames out of these dumps [...] or I slough the joint!
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 307: To slough. To lock.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 198/1: Slough in. (P) To lock in a cell as routine or because of a general emergency, but not as a form of punishment.
[US]F. Brown Madball (2019) 66: ‘Cop trouble. Another unsolved one and they might slough us’.

2. (US Und., also slough off) to throw away, to abandon, to dispose of; to conceal quickly.

[US]C.L. Cullen More Ex-Tank Tales 57: Senator Ed Wolcott had soaked one of the Long Branch faro banks to the tune of $25,000 [...] on the next night he had sloughed that back to the bank and $32,000 more.
[US]Alaska Citizen 28 July 8/4: Where do you think you’ll wind up if you don’t slough this rough stuff you’re shovin’ across.
[US]J.E. Dadswell Hey, Sucker 102: to slough ... to close an attraction.
[US]J. Scarne Complete Guide to Gambling 691: Slough or slough up – to close up. ‘We sloughed the game.’.
[US]B. Seale Seize the Time 49: The cultural nationalists sloughed it [i.e. an armed demonstration] off.

3. (Aus./US tramp) to assault, to shoot.

[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 7 June 12/2: Ponto L. [...] says he will slough the mob out one by one if they blow him up again.
Leavenworth Post (KS) 9 Feb. 1/6: No one was sloughed on the dome.
A. Baer Speaking of Weddings 6 Aug. [synd. col.] A married lady in New York was jealous of her husband’s luxurious expression and sluffed him 11 times with a .44.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 412: Murder. Kill, bump off, slough.
[US]B. Appel Brain Guy (1937) 226: He smacked her across the face [...] ‘Damn you. What do you mean sloughin’ me?’.
[US]B. Appel Tough Guy [ebook] Bughead must’ve sloughed him one in the kisser.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 818: slough – To strike or assault.

4. to dodge, to ‘jink’.

[US](con. WW1) E.C. Parsons Great Adventure 142: [The] large-caliber shells [...] exploded all around Pavelka [...] but he was used to that and calmly sloughed his way through .

5. (US) to close down, e.g. a nightclub, for legal reasons.

E. Wilson I Am Gazing Into My 8-Ball 26: We met recently and he told me his joint had been ‘sloughed,’ an unchurchly vulgarism meaning shut down by the law.
E. Wilson Pikes Peek or Bust 186: [of a carnival] ‘Jacksonville sure was a blank [...] All the flat joints were kicked over, and the girl show was sloughed twice’ .
[US]W. Keyser ‘Carny Lingo’ in 🌐 Slough — To tear down or leave, or get rid of something or fire somebody.

6. (US Und.) to steal, to shoplift.

[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 113: ‘I didn’t waste no bread. I sloughed it.’ He thrust the book under his coat, and it appeared to disappear. ‘See?’.

In phrases

slough off (v.)

(US) to ignore, to dismiss.

[US](con. 1934) H. Robbins A Stone for Danny Fisher 135: You don’t slough off a guy like Maxie Fields down here [...] Fields was the big man in the neighbourhood. Politics, gambling, shylocking – the works.
unslough (v.)

1. (UK Und.) to unlock, to open.

[US]Ladies’ Repository (NY) Oct. VIII:37 317/1: [...] Unslough, to unlock.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 74/1: While the brother ‘unsloughed the jigger’ we three joined in a chorus of laughter.
[US]Number 1500 Life In Sing Sing 254: Unslough. To open.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 50: Izzy taught the Kid how to [...] ‘unslough’ a vest to get at a watch.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 231/2: Unslough. (Among pickpockets) To unbutton or unfasten, as watch and chain from a vest.

2. (US tramp) to steal a watch from inside a man’s coat.

[US] in ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V.