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See more synonyms for mow on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), mowed, mowed or mown, mow·ing.
  1. to cut down (grass, grain, etc.) with a scythe or a machine.
  2. to cut grass, grain, etc., from: to mow the lawn.
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verb (used without object), mowed, mowed or mown, mow·ing.
  1. to cut down grass, grain, etc.
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Verb Phrases
  1. mow down,
    1. to destroy or kill indiscriminately or in great numbers, as troops in battle.
    2. to defeat, overwhelm, or overcome: The team mowed down its first four opponents.
    3. to knock down.
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Origin of mow1

before 900; Middle English mowen, Old English māwan; cognate with German mähen
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for mow down

mow down

  1. (tr, adverb) to kill in large numbers, esp by gunfire
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verb mows, mowing, mowed, mowed or mown
  1. to cut down (grass, crops, etc) with a hand implement or machine
  2. (tr) to cut the growing vegetation of (a field, lawn, etc)
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Derived Formsmower, noun

Word Origin

Old English māwan; related to Old High German māen, Middle Dutch maeyen to mow, Latin metere to reap, Welsh medi


  1. the part of a barn where hay, straw, etc, is stored
  2. the hay, straw, etc, stored
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Word Origin

Old English mūwa; compare Old Norse mūgr heap, Greek mukōn


noun, verb
  1. an archaic word for grimace
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French moe a pout, or Middle Dutch mouwe
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 mow down



Old English mawan "to mow" (class VII strong verb; past tense meow, past participle mawen), from Proto-Germanic *mæanan (cf. Middle Low German maeyen, Dutch maaien, Old High German maen, German mähen "to mow," Old English mæd "meadow"), from PIE root *me- "to mow, to cut down grass or grain with a sickle or scythe" (cf. poetic Greek amao, Latin metere "to reap, mow, crop," Italian mietere, Old Irish meithleorai "reapers," Welsh medi). Related: Mowed; mown; mowing.

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"stack of hay," Old English muga, muwa "a heap, swath of corn, crowd of people," earlier muha, from Proto-Germanic *mugon (cf. Old Norse mugr "a heap," mostr "crowd"), of uncertain origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with mow down

mow down


Destroy in great numbers, especially in battle, as in The machine gun mowed them down as they advanced. [Late 1500s]

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Overwhelm, as in He mowed down the opposition with his arguments. This usage, like the first, alludes to mowing, the cutting of grass with a scythe or other implement.

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