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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Plow \Plow\, Plough \Plough\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Plowed (ploud) or Ploughed; p. pr. & vb. n. Plowing or Ploughing.]

  1. To turn up, break up, or trench, with a plow; to till with, or as with, a plow; as, to plow the ground; to plow a field.

  2. To furrow; to make furrows, grooves, or ridges in; to run through, as in sailing.

    Let patient Octavia plow thy visage up With her prepared nails.

    With speed we plow the watery way.

  3. (Bookbinding) To trim, or shave off the edges of, as a book or paper, with a plow. See Plow, n., 5.

  4. (Joinery) To cut a groove in, as in a plank, or the edge of a board; especially, a rectangular groove to receive the end of a shelf or tread, the edge of a panel, a tongue, etc.

    To plow in, to cover by plowing; as, to plow in wheat.

    To plow up, to turn out of the ground by plowing.


Plow \Plow\, Plough \Plough\ (plou), n. [OE. plouh, plou, AS. pl[=o]h; akin to D. ploeg, G. pflug, OHG. pfluog, pfluoh, Icel. pl[=o]gr, Sw. plog, Dan. ploug, plov, Russ. plug', Lith. plugas.]

  1. A well-known implement, drawn by horses, mules, oxen, or other power, for turning up the soil to prepare it for bearing crops; also used to furrow or break up the soil for other purposes; as, the subsoil plow; the draining plow.

    Where fern succeeds ungrateful to the plow.

  2. Fig.: Agriculture; husbandry.

  3. A carucate of land; a plowland. [Obs.] [Eng.]

    Johan, mine eldest son, shall have plowes five.
    --Tale of Gamelyn.

  4. A joiner's plane for making grooves; a grooving plane.

  5. (Bookbinding) An implement for trimming or shaving off the edges of books.

  6. (Astron.) Same as Charles's Wain. Ice plow, a plow used for cutting ice on rivers, ponds, etc., into cakes suitable for storing. [U. S.] Mackerel plow. See under Mackerel. Plow alms, a penny formerly paid by every plowland to the church. --Cowell. Plow beam, that part of the frame of a plow to which the draught is applied. See Beam, n., 9. Plow Monday, the Monday after Twelth Day, or the end of Christmas holidays. Plow staff.

    1. A kind of long-handled spade or paddle for cleaning the plowshare; a paddle staff.

    2. A plow handle.

      Snow plow, a structure, usually [Lambda]-shaped, for removing snow from sidewalks, railroads, etc., -- drawn or driven by a horse or a locomotive.


Plow \Plow\, Plough \Plough\ (plou), v. i. To labor with, or as with, a plow; to till or turn up the soil with a plow; to prepare the soil or bed for anything.

Doth the plowman plow all day to sow ?
--Isa. xxviii. 24.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late Old English plog, ploh "plow; plowland" (a measure of land equal to what a yoke of oxen could plow in a day), possibly from a Scandinavian source (such as Old Norse plogr "plow," Swedish and Danish plog), from Proto-Germanic *plogo- (cognates: Old Saxon plog, Old Frisian ploch "plow," Middle Low German ploch, Middle Dutch ploech, Dutch ploeg, Old High German pfluog, German Pflug), a late word in Germanic, of uncertain origin. Old Church Slavonic plugu, Lithuanian plugas "plow" are Germanic loan-words, as probably is Latin plovus, plovum "plow," a word said by Pliny to be of Rhaetian origin.\n

\nReplaced Old English sulh, cognate with Latin sulcus "furrow" (see sulcus). As a name for the star pattern also known as the Big Dipper or Charles's Wain, it is attested by early 15c., perhaps early 14c. The three "handle" stars (in the Dipper configuration) generally are seen as the team of oxen pulling the plow, though sometimes they are the handle.


late 14c., from plow (n.). Transferred sense from 1580s. Related: Plowed; plowing.


n. (context US English) (alternative spelling of plough English) vb. (context US English) (alternative spelling of plough English)


n. a farm tool having one or more heavy blades to break the soil and cut a furrow prior to sowing [syn: plough]

  1. v. to break and turn over earth especially with a plow; "Farmer Jones plowed his east field last week"; "turn the earth in the Spring" [syn: plough, turn]

  2. deal with verbally or in some form of artistic expression; "This book deals with incest"; "The course covered all of Western Civilization"; "The new book treats the history of China" [syn: cover, treat, handle, deal, address]

  3. move in a way resembling that of a plow cutting into or going through the soil; "The ship plowed through the water" [syn: plough]


Usage examples of "plow".

As for the ship, she might run hard aground again even closer to shore than last time, plowing shoreward as fast as she was coming now.

Having stilled its immemorial allocution to the moon, the watch-dog was assisting a negro who, prefixing a team of mules to the plow, was flatting and sharping contentedly at his task.

It was a record of a laser message that had come plowing through the Pak system, torn and attenuated and garbled by dust clouds and distance, in a language no longer spoken.

He relaxed the checking pressure on the bit and let the gray dun start down the slope to the hollow where the homesteader was plowing up the virgin sod.

On land that has been very highly manured for a series of years, cabbage can be planted nearer than on land that has been under the plow but a few years.

In the case of clay soils, I have no hesitation to say the manure may be spread even six months before it is plowed in, without losing any appreciable quantity in manuring matter.

In the case of very light sandy soils, it may perhaps not be advisable to spread out the manure a long time before it is plowed in, since such soils do not possess the power of retaining manuring matters in any marked degree.

The larger stores either had or contracted for plows, blowers and melters, which were simply road fusers set on low heat.

If a musher escapes chance encounters with heavy equipment, he cannot escape the surface of the road, which, constantly frozen and re broken by huge plows, is carpeted with boulders, jagged ice cakes, sharp rocks, and clods of frozen dirt.

Deforestation, overgrazing, plowing, or other stripping of the vegetative cover lessens the possibility that rain will be slowed down and stopped so that it may seep into the soil, subsoil and the underground waterways.

A chair had been overset, the rug lay in folds as if plowed up by struggling feet, and scattered over it were many bits of shattered porcelain, remnants of a five hundred dollar Satsuma vase, though Vanaman could not know that.

Some precede alfalfa on such soils by growing cow peas or soy beans, followed by crimson clover, both crops being plowed in, and shortly before sowing the alfalfa they apply more or less of phosphoric acid and potash, which is usually incorporated in the surface soil by the harrow.

On some soils, as in some parts of Florida, two successive crops of cow peas should be plowed under before sowing alfalfa.

The ship, running sub-space and pilotless, plowed headlong into the next gravitic twister and broke up.

Olhado nodded then, and they followed Plower into the young forest until they came to the very place where once Nimbo had taken part in the burning of an ancient mothertree.