Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: slough (2).

slough (2). Today: Misspelled "sluff" as a Verb. "Slough off" (= [1] to shed an outer skin; or [2] to cast off, discard) is sometimes incorrectly written *"sluff off" (a phonetic spelling) — e.g.: "As he delves deeper into a lousy world in which people steal children for money, he expands, sluffs [read 'sloughs'] off his lethargy and assumes the role of avenger." Chris Meehan, "Child's Kidnapping for Baby Broker Triggers Tale of Love and Vengeance," Grand Rapids Press, 12 Jan. 1997, at J7. As a slang term, "sluff" means "to be lazy; shirk responsibilities" {Johnny, have you been sluffing again?}. In this sense the phonetic spelling is passable. See Robert L. Chapman, American Slang 406 (1987). Although Chapman cites "sluff" without "off," more often the phrasal verb *"sluff off" is used {Jaynie, have you been sluffing off again?}. Language-Change Index — "slough off" (the phrasal verb) misspelled *"sluff off": Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————– Quotation of the Day: "Most of the troubles we have when we try to express ourselves in writing are caused by laziness." R.G. Ralph, Put It Plainly v (1952).
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