- an agricultural implement used for cutting, lifting, turning over, and partly pulverizing soil.
- any of various implements resembling or suggesting this, as a kind of plane for cutting grooves or a contrivance for clearing away snow from a road or track.
- Type Founding. (formerly) an instrument for cutting the groove in the foot of type.
- Bookbinding. a device for trimming the edges of the leaves by hand.
- (initial capital letter) Astronomy.
- the constellation Ursa Major.
- the Big Dipper.
- to turn up (soil) with a plow.
- to make (a furrow) with a plow.
- to tear up, cut into, or make a furrow, groove, etc. in (a surface) with or as if with a plow (often followed by up): The tractor plowed up an acre of trees.
- to clear by the use of a plow, especially a snowplow (sometimes followed by out): The city's work crews were busily plowing the streets after the blizzard.
- to invest, as capital (often followed by into): to plow several hundred million into developing new oil fields.
- to reinvest or reutilize (usually followed by back): to plow profits back into new plants and equipment.
- (of a ship, boat, animal, etc.)
- to cleave the surface of (the water): beavers plowing the pond.
- to make (a way) or follow (a course) in this manner: The yacht plowed an easterly course through the choppy Atlantic.
- Slang: Vulgar. to have sexual intercourse with.
- to till the soil or work with a plow.
- to take plowing in a specified way: land that plows easily.
- to move forcefully through something in the manner of a plow (often followed by through, into, along, etc.): The cop plowed through the crowd, chasing after the thief. The car plowed into our house.
- to proceed in a slow, laborious, and steady manner (often followed by through): The researcher plowed through a pile of reports.
- to move through water by cleaving the surface: a ship plowing through a turbulent sea.
- plow under,
- to bury under soil by plowing.
- to cause to disappear; force out of existence; overwhelm: Many mom-and-pop groceries have been plowed under by the big chain stores.
Origin of plow
- the usual US spelling of plough
Word Origin and History for plow back
late Old English plog, ploh "plow; plowland" (a measure of land equal to what a yoke of oxen could plow in a day), possibly from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse plogr "plow," Swedish and Danish plog), from Proto-Germanic *plogo- (cf. Old Saxon plog, Old Frisian ploch "plow," Middle Low German ploch, Middle Dutch ploech, Dutch ploeg, Old High German pfluog, German Pflug), a late word in Germanic, of uncertain origin. Old Church Slavonic plugu, Lithuanian plugas "plow" are Germanic loan-words, as probably is Latin plovus, plovum "plow," a word said by Pliny to be of Rhaetian origin.
Replaced Old English sulh, cognate with Latin sulcus "furrow." As a name for the star pattern also known as the Big Dipper or Charles's Wain, it is attested by early 15c., perhaps early 14c. The three "handle" stars (in the Dipper configuration) generally are seen as the team of oxen pulling the plow, though sometimes they are the handle.
late 14c., from plow (n.). Transferred sense from 1580s. Related: Plowed; plowing.
Idioms and Phrases with plow back
Reinvest earnings or profits in one's business, as in This company plows back half its profits every year. This term transfers the farming practice of turning the soil from top to bottom to financial enterprises. [First half of 1900s]