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’.
[Aus]B. Matthews Intractable [ebook] Barrie was a lifer who got sloughed up in the tracs after they found gelignite in the library and reasoned he was going to blow his way out of the jail.

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.