shed or remove (a layer of dead skin).“a snake sloughs off its old skin”
get rid of (something undesirable or no longer required).“he is concerned to slough off the country’s bad environmental image”
(of dead skin) drop off; be shed.
(of soil or rock) collapse or slide into a hole or depression.
I’ve come to use it as a figurative term for a gross habit some people seem to have — shedding responsibility.
I’m sure you’ve witnessed someone slough (ew). It can sound a lot like this:
“There was a miscommunication…”
It is also, for the people harmed by the culpable party, dehumanizing, belittling, and disempowering. I’ve learned, over the last thirty-two years, that the more impersonal, distant, and blameless-sounding the sloughing, the more egregious the actions of the slough-er tend to be. We see it a lot in public faux-pologies and it’s usually followed by a statement of the slough-er’s own harm (“I lost something, too!”) or back-pedaling (“but here’s why this is okay!”), or re-branding (“but really this is a lesson for all of us about ____!”).
Can I just say, let us all stop doing this. Let it be known that sometimes, we are all assh*les. Sometimes, we are assh*les at each other. It happens. We are human. Sometimes, someone will be an assh*le to you, and you’ll be an assh*le to them back, and it devolves into a mess and there are irreparable consequences. I’m not saying dish the dirty details to anyone who will listen. But like, express some agency.