the act of leveling or cutting down grass, grain, etc., with a mowing machine or scythe.
the quantity of grass, grain, etc., cut in a specified period.

Origin of mowing

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at mow1, -ing1



verb (used with object), mowed, mowed or mown, mow·ing.

to cut down (grass, grain, etc.) with a scythe or a machine.
to cut grass, grain, etc., from: to mow the lawn.

verb (used without object), mowed, mowed or mown, mow·ing.

to cut down grass, grain, etc.

Verb Phrases

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.

Origin of mow

before 900; Middle English mowen, Old English māwan; cognate with German mähen


[mou, moh]

noun, verb (used without object), mowed, mow·ing. Archaic.




the place in a barn where hay, sheaves of grain, etc., are stored.
a heap or pile of hay or of sheaves of grain in a barn.

verb (used with object)

Chiefly Northern and North Midland U.S. to store (hay) in a barn.

Origin of mow

before 900; Middle English mow(e), Old English mūwa, mūha, mūga; cognate with Old Norse mūgi swath



or mowe

[mou, moh]Archaic.


a wry or derisive grimace.

verb (used without object)

to make mows, mouths, or grimaces.

Origin of mow

1275–1325; Middle English mowe < Middle French moue lip, pout, Old French moe < Frankish; akin to Middle Dutch mouwe protruded lip Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mowing

Contemporary Examples of mowing

Historical Examples of mowing

  • He'll sell you a mowing machine and the grass seed to grow the hay to cut with it.

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • After a while Peer went down and drove the mowing machine himself.

    The Great Hunger

    Johan Bojer

  • The other men were as busy as ever mowing more hay and hauling in that which was cured.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • The men were mowing this grass when Mr. George and Rollo were there.

    Rollo on the Rhine

    Jacob Abbott

  • I am going to the meadows, to see them mowing, I am going to see them make the hay.

British Dictionary definitions for mowing



verb mows, mowing, mowed, mowed or mown

to cut down (grass, crops, etc) with a hand implement or machine
(tr) to cut the growing vegetation of (a field, lawn, etc)
Derived Formsmower, noun

Word Origin for mow

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




the part of a barn where hay, straw, etc, is stored
the hay, straw, etc, stored

Word Origin for mow

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



noun, verb

an archaic word for grimace

Word Origin for mow

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 mowing



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.



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper