Date: Mon, 7 Feb 1994 23:40:33 -0700 From: Rudy Troike Subject: Sluff/Slough I am forwarding the following from my good Anglo-Saxonist colleague here at the U of Arizona, Carl Berkhout. Re his final note, I well remember driving through Slough in England once, and encountering a sign at the entrance to the city reading: "Go Slow in Slough". From: UACCIT::CTB "Carl Berkhout" 7-FEB-1994 23:06 To: UACCIT::RTROIKE CC: CTB Subj: RE: Sluff/Slough > Is this new "sluff" the same as the old SLOUGH? > > David Bergdahl Ohio University/Athens BERGDAHL[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]OUVAXA.CATS.OHIO.EDU 'Sluff' is indeed a mutation of 'slough', more Yank than Brit. It goes back to whenever, but its modern currency (since the 1940s or so) has been influenced or reinforced by American bridge players, who 'sluff' cards that they don't want or need. British bridge players usually 'discard' or 'shed' them. The bridge players' 'sluff' spelling is in turn influenced by the word 'ruff'. The term 'a ruff and a sluff' is very common among bridge players and is something that good declarer play often tries to force from opponents. Also, terms 'slough off' and 'shuffle off', which could be used either transitively or intransitively (for 'to die, to give up'), have been virtually synonymous since the 16th century. (One could either slough off or shuffle off a mortal coil--or simply slough off and be done with it.) Possibly the -uff- in 'shuffle' has contributed to the 'sluff' spelling of 'slough' somehow. All of which reminds me of the town of Slough, west of London. Among most of the locals the name rhymes with 'cow', but other Brits are apt to pronounce it in various ways. I once heard a British Rail conductor on the 9.15 from Paddington to Oxford announce that the train would call at 'Sluff'. Enuff