See more synonyms for sow on
verb (used with object), sowed, sown or sowed, sow·ing.
  1. to scatter (seed) over land, earth, etc., for growth; plant.
  2. to plant seed for: to sow a crop.
  3. to scatter seed over (land, earth, etc.) for the purpose of growth.
  4. to implant, introduce, or promulgate; seek to propagate or extend; disseminate: to sow distrust or dissension.
  5. to strew or sprinkle with anything.
verb (used without object), sowed, sown or sowed, sow·ing.
  1. to sow seed, as for the production of a crop.

Origin of sow

before 900; Middle English sowen, Old English sāwan; cognate with Dutch zaaien, German säen, Old Norse sā, Gothic saian; akin to seed, Latin sēmen seed, serere to sow
Related formssow·a·ble, adjectivesow·er, nounun·sowed, adjective

Synonyms for sow

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sower

Historical Examples of sower

  • Gun-wheels, horses' hoofs, feet of men had made of naught the sower's pains.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • He plucked an ear of wholesome admonition from the parable of the Sower.

    The Golden Shoemaker

    J. W. Keyworth

  • Every young man is now a sower of seed on the field of life.

    Hidden Treasures

    Harry A. Lewis

  • It was the parable of the sower and the seed, in the thirteenth of St. Matthew.

    Amy Harrison

    Amy Harrison

  • The rising Nile moistening and fertilizing the land, prepares the way for the sower.


    Calvin Elliott

British Dictionary definitions for sower


verb sows, sowing, sowed, sown or sowed
  1. to scatter or place (seed, a crop, etc) in or on (a piece of ground, field, etc) so that it may growto sow wheat; to sow a strip of land
  2. (tr) to implant or introduceto sow a doubt in someone's mind
Derived Formssowable, adjectivesower, noun

Word Origin for sow

Old English sāwan; related to Old Norse sā, Old High German sāen, Old Slavonic seja, Latin serere to sow


  1. a female adult pig
  2. the female of certain other animals, such as the mink
  3. metallurgy
    1. the channels for leading molten metal to the moulds in casting pig iron
    2. iron that has solidified in these channels

Word Origin for sow

Old English sugu; related to Old Norse sӯr, Old High German sū, Latin sūs, Norwegian sugga, Dutch zeug: see swine
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 sower

Old English sawere, agent noun from sow (v.).



Old English sawan "to scatter seed upon the ground or plant it in the earth, disseminate" (class VII strong verb; past tense seow, past participle sawen), from Proto-Germanic *sean (cf. Old Norse sa, Old Saxon saian, Middle Dutch sayen, Dutch zaaien, Old High German sawen, German säen, Gothic saian), from PIE root *se- (1) "to sow" (cf. Latin sero, past tense sevi, past participle satum "to sow;" Old Church Slavonic sejo, sejati; Lithuanian seju, seti "to sow"), source of semen, season (n.), seed (n.), etc. Figurative sense was in Old English.



Old English sugu, su "female of the swine," from Proto-Germanic *su- (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German su, German Sau, Dutch zeug, Old Norse syr), from PIE root *su- (cf. Sanskrit sukarah "wild boar, swine;" Avestan hu "wild boar;" Greek hys "swine;" Latin sus "swine," swinus "pertaining to swine;" Old Church Slavonic svinija "swine;" Lettish sivens "young pig;" Welsh hucc, Irish suig "swine; Old Irish socc "snout, plowshare"), possibly imitative of pig noise, a notion reinforced by the fact that Sanskrit sukharah means "maker of (the sound) 'su.' " Related to swine. As a term of abuse for a woman, attested from c.1500. Sow-bug "hog louse" is from 1750.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with sower


In addition to the idiom beginning with sow

  • sow one's wild oats

also see:

  • can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.