verb (used with object)

to labor, as by plowing or harrowing, upon (land) for the raising of crops; cultivate.
to plow.

verb (used without object)

to cultivate the soil.

Origin of till

before 900; Middle English tilen, Old English tilian to strive after, get, till; cognate with Dutch telen to breed, cultivate, German zielen to aim at
Related formsmis·tilled, adjectiveun·tilled, adjectiveun·till·ing, adjectivewell-tilled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for tilled

box, safe, kitty, treasury, vault, tray, plow, prepare, farm, mulch, work, plant, turn, dig, sow, labor, grow, tend, dress, harrow

Examples from the Web for tilled

Contemporary Examples of tilled

Historical Examples of tilled

  • The land, as at Sparta, must have been tilled by slaves, since other occupations were found for the citizens.



  • The ridge is quite broken and in places can not be tilled profitably.

    The Negro Farmer

    Carl Kelsey

  • Hitherto the Negro has tilled much of the best land of the South.

    The Negro Farmer

    Carl Kelsey

  • The number of times a vineyard should be tilled depends on the soil and the season.

  • He rented the place upon which he lived, as also the hands with which he tilled it.

British Dictionary definitions for tilled



conjunction, preposition

Also (not standard): 'til short for until
Scot to; towards
dialect in order thatcome here till I tell you

Word Origin for till

Old English til; related to Old Norse til to, Old High German zil goal, aim


Till is a variant of until that is acceptable at all levels of language. Until is, however, often preferred at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing: until his behaviour improves, he cannot become a member



verb (tr)

to cultivate and work (land) for the raising of crops
another word for plough
Derived Formstillable, adjectivetiller, noun

Word Origin for till

Old English tilian to try, obtain; related to Old Frisian tilia to obtain, Old Saxon tilōn to obtain, Old High German zilōn to hasten towards




a box, case, or drawer into which the money taken from customers is put, now usually part of a cash register

Word Origin for till

C15 tylle, of obscure origin




an unstratified glacial deposit consisting of rock fragments of various sizes. The most common is boulder clay

Word Origin for till

C17: of unknown 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 tilled



"until," Old English til (Northumbrian), from Old Norse til "to, until," from Proto-Germanic *tilan (cf. Danish til, Old Frisian til "to, till," Gothic tils "convenient," German Ziel "limit, end, goal"). A common preposition in Scandinavian, probably originally the accusative case of a noun now lost except for Icelandic tili "scope," the noun used to express aim, direction, purpose (e.g. aldrtili "death," literally "end of life"). Also cf. German Ziel "end, limit, point aimed at, goal," and compare till (v.).



"cultivate (land)" (early 13c.), "plow" (late 14c.), from Old English tilian "tend, work at, get by labor," originally "strive after," related to till "fixed point, goal," and til "good, suitable," from Proto-Germanic *tilojanan (cf. Old Frisian tilia "to get, cultivate," Old Saxon tilian "to obtain," Middle Dutch, Dutch telen "to breed, raise, cultivate, cause," Old High German zilon "to strive," German zielen "to aim, strive"), from source of till (prep.). Related: Tilled; tilling.



"cashbox," mid-15c., from Anglo-French tylle "compartment," Old French tille "compartment, shelter on a ship," probably from Old Norse þilja "plank, floorboard," from Proto-Germanic *theljon. The other theory is that the word is from Middle English tillen "to draw," from Old English -tyllan (see toll (v.)), with a sense evolution as in drawer (see draw).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tilled in Science



An unstratified, unconsolidated mass of boulders, pebbles, sand, and mud deposited by the movement or melting of a glacier. The size and shape of the sediments that constitute till vary widely.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with tilled


In addition to the subsequent idioms beginning with till

  • till all hours
  • till hell freezes over
  • till the cows come home

also see:

  • hand in the till
  • until
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.