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fallow1

[fal-oh]
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adjective
  1. (of land) plowed and left unseeded for a season or more; uncultivated.
  2. not in use; inactive: My creative energies have lain fallow this year.
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noun
  1. land that has undergone plowing and harrowing and has been left unseeded for one or more growing seasons.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make (land) fallow for agricultural purposes.
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Origin of fallow1

1275–1325; Middle English falwe; compare Old English fealga, plural of *fealh, as gloss of Medieval Latin occas harrows
Related formsfal·low·ness, nounun·fal·lowed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for fallowness

fallow1

adjective
  1. (of land) left unseeded after being ploughed and harrowed to regain fertility for a crop
  2. (of an idea, state of mind, etc) undeveloped or inactive, but potentially useful
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noun
  1. land treated in this way
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verb
  1. (tr) to leave (land) unseeded after ploughing and harrowing it
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Derived Formsfallowness, noun

Word Origin

Old English fealga; related to Greek polos ploughed field

fallow2

adjective
  1. of a light yellowish-brown colour
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Word Origin

Old English fealu; related to Old Norse fölr, Old Saxon, Old High German falo, Latin pallidus Greek polios grey
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 fallowness

fallow

n.

c.1300, from Old English fealh "fallow land," from Proto-Germanic *falgo (cf. Old High German felga "harrow," German Felge "plowed-up fallow land," East Frisian falge "fallow," falgen "to break up ground"), perhaps from a derivation of PIE root *pel- "to turn," assimilated in English to fallow (adj.) because of the color of plowed earth. Originally "plowed land," then "land plowed but not planted" (1520s). As an adjective, from late 14c.

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fallow

adj.

"pale yellow, brownish yellow," Old English fealu "reddish yellow, yellowish-brown, tawny, dusk-colored," from Proto-Germanic *falwa- (cf. Old Saxon falu, Old Norse fölr, Middle Dutch valu, Dutch vaal, Old High German falo, German falb), from PIE *pal-wo- "dark-colored, gray" (cf. Old Church Slavonic plavu, Lithuanian palvas "sallow;" Greek polios, Sanskrit palitah, Welsh llwyd "gray;" Latin pallere "to be pale"), from root *pal- (see pallor). It also forms the root of words for "pigeon" in Greek (peleia), Latin (palumbes), and Old Prussian (poalis).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper