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  1. a litter of pigs.
verb (used with object)
  1. (of swine) to bring forth (young).
verb (used without object)
  1. to produce a litter of pigs.

Origin of farrow1

before 900; Middle English farwen to give birth to a litter of pigs, derivative of Old English fearh pig (cognate with Latin porcus); akin to German Ferkel young pig
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for farrowing

Historical Examples

  • One of the chief causes of trouble with the farrowing sow arises from the sow not having been allowed to take sufficient exercise.

    The Pig

    Sanders Spencer

  • In ordinary cases this is not necessary, the farrowing of a litter of pigs is a simple and natural operation.

    The Pig

    Sanders Spencer

  • All breeders lay great emphasis on the condition of the bowels during pregnancy, and particularly at farrowing.

  • The brood sows are placed in separate pens at farrowing time and watched carefully when giving birth to the pigs.

British Dictionary definitions for farrowing


  1. a litter of piglets
  1. (of a sow) to give birth to (a litter)

Word Origin

Old English fearh; related to Old High German farah young pig, Latin porcus pig, Greek porkos


  1. (of a cow) not calving in a given year

Word Origin

C15: from Middle Dutch verwe- (unattested) cow that has ceased to bear; compare Old English fearr ox
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for farrowing



Old English fearh "young pig," from Proto-Germanic *farkhaz "young pig" (cf. Middle Low German ferken, Dutch varken, both diminutives, Old High German farh, German Ferkel), from PIE *porkos- (see pork (n.)). Sense of "a litter of pigs" first recorded 1570s. As a verb, early 13c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper