[ far-oh ]
/ ˈfær oʊ /


a litter of pigs.

verb (used with object)

(of swine) to bring forth (young).

verb (used without object)

to produce a litter of pigs.

Nearby words

  1. farrell, suzanne,
  2. farrest,
  3. farrier,
  4. farriery,
  5. farro,
  6. farruca,
  7. fars,
  8. farseeing,
  9. farsi,
  10. farsighted

Origin of farrow

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for farrowing

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

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

    The Pig|Sanders Spencer
  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for farrowing


/ (ˈfærəʊ) /


a litter of piglets


(of a sow) to give birth to (a litter)

Word Origin for farrow

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


/ (ˈfærəʊ) /


(of a cow) not calving in a given year

Word Origin for farrow

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