- of a sickly, yellowish or lightish brown color: sallow cheeks; a sallow complexion.
- to make sallow.
Origin of sallow1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- any of several shrubby Old World willows, especially Salix atrocinerea or the pussy willow, S. caprea.
Origin of sallow2
Examples from the Web for sallow
Lincoln would endure bout after bout of the hypos, until a permanent sadness settled onto his sallow face.Making Lincoln Sexy: Jerome Charyn’s Fictional President
March 6, 2014
Junkies have their own look (emaciated, haunted, sallow) and their own junk names: Doolie, Cash, and Dupré.American Dreams, 1953: ‘Junky’ by William S. Burroughs
June 27, 2013
This John is sickly and sallow, his body lacking plasticity.Caravaggio's Grand Passions
June 11, 2010
They were hard-featured men, sallow of complexion, rigid in their looks.
Her face was sallow and dry, and the luster had gone from her black hair.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
The perspiration stood in beads on the boy's sallow forehead; but he said nothing.The Boy Life of Napoleon
His cheek was sallow, his nose aquiline, his mouth compressed.Vivian Grey
Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
Under his ruddy tan his skin was no longer fresh, but dull and sallow.Louisiana Lou
William West Winter
- (esp of human skin) of an unhealthy pale or yellowish colour
- (tr) to make sallow
- any of several small willow trees, esp the Eurasian Salix cinerea (common sallow), which has large catkins that appear before the leaves
- a twig or the wood of any of these trees
Word Origin and History for sallow
Old English salo "dusky, dark" (related to sol "dark, dirty"), from Proto-Germanic *salwa- (cf. Middle Dutch salu "discolored, dirty," Old High German salo "dirty gray," Old Norse sölr "dirty yellow"), from PIE root *sal- "dirty, gray" (cf. Old Church Slavonic slavojocije "grayish-blue color," Russian solovoj "cream-colored"). Related: Sallowness.
"shrubby willow plant," Old English sealh (Anglian salh), from Proto-Germanic *salhjon (cf. Old Norse selja, Old High German salaha, and first element in German compound Salweide), from PIE *sal(i)k- "willow" (cf. Latin salix "willow," Middle Irish sail, Welsh helygen, Breton halegen "willow"). French saule "willow" is from Frankish salha, from the Germanic root. Used in Palm Sunday processions and decorations in England before the importing of real palm leaves began.
- Of a sickly yellowish hue or complexion.
- To make sallow.