[sou, suhf]
See more synonyms for sough on
verb (used without object)
  1. to make a rushing, rustling, or murmuring sound: the wind soughing in the meadow.
  2. Scot. and North England. to speak, especially to preach, in a whining, singsong voice.
  1. a sighing, rustling, or murmuring sound.
  2. Scot. and North England.
    1. a sigh or deep breath.
    2. a whining, singsong manner of speaking.
    3. a rumor; unconfirmed report.

Origin of sough

before 900; (v.) Middle English swoghen, Old English swōgan to make a noise; cognate with Old Saxon swōgan, Old English swēgan, Gothic -swōgjan; (noun) Middle English swow, swo(u)gh, derivative of the v.
Related formssough·ful·ly, adverbsough·less, adjective


[suhf, sou]British
  1. drain; drainage ditch, gutter, or sewer.
  2. a swampy or marshy area.
verb (used with object)
  1. to drain (land or a mine) by building drainage ditches or the like.
Also especially Scot., sugh.

Origin of sough

1250–1300; Middle English sogh, sohn < ?; compare Dutch (dial.) zoeg little ditch Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sough

Historical Examples of sough

  • The old man doubtless wanted a sough of peace in his own home.

    An Orkney Maid

    Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

  • Naught was heard save the droning of the students and the sough of the wind in the forest.

  • The sough of the calm sea could not reach so far; the flies were few; no bird sang.


    John Galsworthy

  • If there's a' sough o' cholera,Or typhus,—wha sae gleg as she?

  • He could hear the sough of the sea on the beach, far down below him.

    Washed Ashore

    W.H.G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for sough


  1. (intr) (esp of the wind) to make a characteristic sighing sound
  1. a soft continuous murmuring sound

Word Origin for sough

Old English swōgan to resound; related to Gothic gaswogjan to groan, Lithuanian svageti to sound, Latin vāgīre to lament


  1. Northern English dialect a sewer or drain or an outlet channel

Word Origin for sough

of obscure origin
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 sough

"to make a moaning or murmuring sound," Old English swogan "to sound, roar, howl, rustle, whistle," from Proto-Germanic *swoganan (cf. Old Saxon swogan "to rustle," Gothic gaswogjan "to sigh"), from PIE imitative root *(s)wagh- (cf. Greek echo, Latin vagire "to cry, roar, sound"). The noun is late 14c., from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper