Monday, May 2, 2011

slough

slough [slaʊ for 1 and 2, slu for 3] n.



1.) A piece of soft, miry, or muddy ground; esp. a place or hole in a road or way filled with wet mud or mire and impassable by heavy vehicles, horses, etc.
2.) A state or condition (esp. of moral degradation) in which a person, etc., sinks or has sunk.
3.) (Also slew) a side channel of a river, or a natural channel that is only sporadically filled with water (Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Edition).

Etymology: Old English slóh (sló), of doubtful origin; perhaps ultimately related to slonk.

"It is very evident what mean and sneaking lives many of you live, for my sight has been whetted by experience; always on the limits, trying to get into business and trying to get out of debt, a very ancient slough, called by the Latins aes alienum, another's brass, for some of their coins were made of brass; still living, and dying, and buried by this other's brass; always promising to pay, promising to pay, tomorrow, and dying today, insolvent; seeking to curry favor, to get custom, by how many modes, only not state-prison offenses; lying, flattering, voting, contracting yourselves into a nutshell of civility or dilating into an atmosphere of thin and vaporous generosity, that you may persuade your neighbor to let you make his shoes, or his hat, or his coat, or his carriage, or import his groceries for him; making yourselves sick, that you may lay up something against a sick day, something to be tucked away in an old chest, or in a stocking behind the plastering, or, more safely, in the brick bank; no matter where, no matter how much or how little" (Walden, Henry David Thoreau, 1854).
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I've provided audio for the pronunciation of yesterday's word, a fortiori, for those who were interested (it's not me this time, because I'm unable to record at the moment). A simpler example of an a fortiori argument is something like: Bin Laden is dead, thus a fortiori he can't walk. Since he's dead, he can't do anything, so this "stronger" premise establishes a fortiori any number of "weaker" ones: he can't breathe, he can't sing, he can't dance, etc. Let me know if that clarifies things. Thanks for your interest and for keeping me honest!

23 comments:

Solsby Kid said...

Great word!

Dave said...

My life was always in the "slough" untill one day I got a pair of scissors and cut up my credit cards lol.

Zombie said...

I slipped on some slough and got the back of my pants all muddy.

Kicking Rocks said...

Bin Ladens body was found in a slough

Maggie said...

great! never heard of this word either

**Hype.Planet** said...

Woot, thanks for the audio!

zepdragon said...

Great word

Sick by Trend said...

great word! I have never heard of this word before1 I'm not british so is normal no? haha :D

hugs!

www.sickbytrend.com

M Pax said...

I enjoyed the Thoreau excerpt. I must slough off the dregs of sleep this morning.

Endless said...

@Kicking Rocks: hahahaha, you got it!

Random Girl said...

Thank you for the further explanation on fortiori, I think everyone enjoyed the example today.

PeaceLoveandSharpies said...

I'm going to use this word at every possible occasion.
Hell. Yes.

Team Panda said...

i think i would use the first pronunciation because saying "slew" can be mixed up with the past tense of "slay" just a thought.

thenitefalls said...

There's was a lot of slough in Woodstock haha

ExoticBlogger said...

i stepped in a slough once..

Colin Biano said...

hey, that voice is good enough :)

Lydia K said...

For so long I didn't know how to pronounce this word with respect to definition #1. Thanks!

Bart said...

im a slough sometimes

A Beer for the Shower said...

I've added both slough and fortiori to my vocabulary, and yes, thanks for the extra explanation. It eluded me the first time.

BExCLUSIVE MAGAZINE said...

Great blog! congrats!

ciao ciao from Rome
BExCLUSIVE MAGAZINE

http://bexclusivemagazine.blogspot.com/

Astronomy Pirate said...

The pigs like to hang out in the slough.

lifeshighway said...

I'm like the concept of your blog. Let's see if I can keep motivated and get a little education.

Drake Sigar said...

I'm sure the people of Slough borough will be ecstatic to know this.

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