slough, slue, slew

The words slough, slue, slew sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Why do slough, slue, slew sound the same even though they are completely different words?

The answer is simple: slough, slue, slew are homophones of the English language.

slew
  1. :: noun

    Informal A large amount or number; a lot: a slew of unpaid bills.

  2. :: verb

    Past tense of slay.

  3. :: noun

    Variant of slough1.

  4. :: verb

    Variant of slue1.

slough
  1. :: noun

    A depression or hollow, usually filled with deep mud or mire.

  2. :: noun

    A stagnant swamp, marsh, bog, or pond, especially as part of a bayou, inlet, or backwater.

  3. :: noun

    A state of deep despair or moral degradation.

  4. :: noun

    The dead outer skin shed by a reptile or amphibian.

slue
  1. :: verb-transitive

    To turn (something) on an axis; rotate: slued the swivel chair around; sluing the boom of a crane.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To turn sharply; veer: braked and slued the car around.

  3. :: verb-intransitive

    To turn about an axis; pivot.

  4. :: verb-intransitive

    To turn or slide sideways or off course; skid.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition and Wordnik.

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About Homophones

Homophones (literally "same sound") are usually defined as words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of how they are spelled.

If they are spelled the same then they are also homographs (and homonyms); if they are spelled differently then they are also heterographs (literally "different writing").