sow

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • verb to put seeds into soil so that they will germinate and grow

Slang

  • noun an unpleasant woman. The (fairly rare) term of abuse usually implies real distaste or bitter recrimination.

Business

  • acronym forstatement of work
    (written as SOW)

Origin & History of “sow”

English has two words sow, both of which go back to the Old English period. The verb, ‘put seeds in the ground’, comes from a prehistoric Germanic *sǣjan, which also produced German säen, Dutch zaaien, Swedish , and Danish saa. It was formed from the base *- (source of English seed), which goes back ultimately to Indo-European *- (source of English season, semen, etc). Sow ‘female pig’ is descended from an Indo-European base *su- (possibly imitative of the noise made by a pig), which also produced Greek hus ‘pig’ (whose feminine form húaina is the source of English hyena (16th c.)), Latin sūs ‘pig’, German sau ‘sow’, and English swine.
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