Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
1. Literally, to shed, peel, or scrape off an outer layer of something. In this usage, a noun can be used between "slough" and "off." It can be pretty gross to watch a snake slough off its skin, leaving behind a weird, hollow version of itself.
2. To dismiss, ignore, or minimize the importance of someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "slough" and "off." He kept heckling me during the show, but I sloughed him off and kept performing. The senator just sloughed off the journalist's comments, describing them later as "baseless" and "incendiary."
3. To procrastinate or avoid doing work. In this usage, the phrase is sometimes followed by a noun indicating the thing being avoided. If you keep sloughing off, we'll be forced to give you a formal warning. I decided to slough off my essay for the weekend and hang out with my friends instead.
4. To delegate or assign one's own work or duties to someone else. In this usage, a noun can be used between "slough" and "off," and the phrase is typically followed by "to/onto (someone)." More and more administrative duties are being sloughed off onto teachers, without being reflected in their pay. He's been sloughing smaller projects off to his assistants.
5. To escape or depart for some location quietly or in secret. In this usage, the phrase is sometimes followed by "to/into (some place)." I felt really uncomfortable in the group of strangers, so I sloughed off when everyone was distracted. We decided to skip the meeting and sloughed off to the movies instead.
slough something off
1. Lit. to brush or rub something off. The snake sloughed its old skin off. It sloughed off its skin.
2. Fig. to ignore or disregard a negative remark or incident. I could see that the remark had hurt her feelings, but she just pretended to slough it off. Liz sloughed off the remark.
1. To shed or peel off some outer layer, especially by rubbing or scraping: We need to slough the paint off the pipes before we install them. The snake sloughed off its skin against a rock.
2. To shed or peel off, as an outer layer: My skin is sloughing off because of the dryness.
3. To avoid some work or to work lazily: Your grades are bad because you've been sloughing off your homework a lot recently. After lunch, he sloughed off and played video games.
4. To leave unnoticed; slip away: The kids sloughed off into the woods.
See sluff off