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  1. a tool or device for cutting, typically a thin blade of metal with a series of sharp teeth.
  2. any similar tool or device, as a rotating disk, in which a sharp continuous edge replaces the teeth.
verb (used with object), sawed, sawed or sawn, saw·ing.
  1. to cut or divide with a saw.
  2. to form by cutting with a saw.
  3. to make cutting motions as if using a saw: to saw the air with one's hands.
  4. to work (something) from side to side like a saw.
verb (used without object), sawed, sawed or sawn, saw·ing.
  1. to use a saw.
  2. to cut with or as if with a saw.
  3. to cut as a saw does.
  1. saw wood, Informal. to snore loudly while sleeping.

Origin of saw1

before 1000; (noun) Middle English sawe, Old English saga, *sagu; cognate with Dutch zaag, Old Norse sǫg; akin to German Säge saw, Latin secāre to cut (see section), Old English seax knife, sax2; (v.) Middle English sawen, derivative of the noun
Related formssaw·er, nounsaw·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sawer

Historical Examples

  • It is a fortunate spot considering that it is a sawer of stone.

    A Tour Through The Pyrenees

    Hippolyte Adolphe Taine

British Dictionary definitions for sawer


abbreviation for
  1. surface acoustic wave


  1. any of various hand tools for cutting wood, metal, etc, having a blade with teeth along one edge
  2. any of various machines or devices for cutting by use of a toothed blade, such as a power-driven circular toothed wheel or toothed band of metal
verb saws, sawing, sawed, sawed or sawn
  1. to cut with a saw
  2. to form by sawing
  3. to cut as if wielding a sawto saw the air
  4. to move (an object) from side to side as if moving a saw
Derived Formssawer, nounsawlike, adjective

Word Origin

Old English sagu; related to Old Norse sog, Old High German saga, Latin secāre to cut, secūris axe


  1. the past tense of see 1


  1. a wise saying, maxim, or proverb

Word Origin

Old English sagu a saying; related to saga
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 sawer



toothed cutting tool, Old English sagu, from Proto-Germanic *sago "a cutting tool" (cf. Old English seax "knife," Old Norse sög, Norwegian sag, Danish sav, Swedish såg, Middle Dutch saghe, Dutch zaag, Old High German saga, German Säge "saw"), from PIE root *sek- "to cut" (cf. Latin secare "to cut," Russian sech' "to cut;" see section (n.)).



"proverb, saying, maxim," Old English sagu "saying, discourse, speech, study, tradition, tale," from Proto-Germanic *saga-, *sagon- (cf. Middle Low German, Middle Dutch sage, zage, German Sage "legend, fable, saga, myth, tradition," Old Norse saga "story, tale, saga"), from PIE root *sek(w)- "to say, utter" (see say (v.)).



"cut with a saw," c.1300, perhaps c.1200, from saw (n.1). Strong conjugation began 15c. on model of draw, etc. Related: Sawed; sawing. Sawed-off "short, cut short" is attested 1887 of persons, 1898 of shotguns.



past tense of see; from Old English plural sawon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with sawer


see old saw.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.