plough

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English plouh, plow, plugh(e), plough(e), plouw, from Old English plōh (hide of land, ploughland) and Old Norse plógr (plough (the implement)), both from Proto-Germanic *plōgaz, *plōguz (plough). Cognate with Scots pleuch, plou (plough), West Frisian ploech (plough), North Frisian plog (plough), Dutch ploeg (plough), Low German Ploog (plough), German Pflug (plough), Danish plov (plough), Swedish and Norwegian plog (plough), Icelandic plógur (plough). Replaced Old English sulh (plough, furrow); see sullow.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

plough (plural ploughs)

  1. A device pulled through the ground in order to break it open into furrows for planting.
    The horse-drawn plough had a tremendous impact on agriculture.
  2. An alternative name for Ursa Major or the Great Bear.
  3. A carucate of land; a ploughland.
    • Tale of Gamelyn
      Johan, mine eldest son, shall have plowes five.
  4. A joiner's plane for making grooves.
  5. A bookbinder's implement for trimming or shaving off the edges of books.

Usage notes[edit]

The spelling plow is usual in the United States, but the spelling plough may be found in literary or historical contexts there.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

plough (third-person singular simple present ploughs, present participle ploughing, simple past and past participle ploughed)

  1. (transitive) To use a plough on to prepare for planting.
    I've still got to plough that field.
  2. (intransitive) To use a plough.
    Some days I have to plough from sunrise to sunset.
  3. (transitive, vulgar) To have sex with.
  4. To move with force.
    • 2011 January 18, “Wolverhampton 5 - 0 Doncaster”, BBC:
      Wolves continued to plough forward as young Belgian midfielder Mujangi Bia and Ronald Zubar both hit shots wide from good positions.
  5. To furrow; to make furrows, grooves, or ridges in; to run through, as in sailing.
    • Shakespeare
      Let patient Octavia plough thy visage up / With her prepared nails.
    • Alexander Pope
      With speed we plough the watery way.
  6. (bookbinding) To trim, or shave off the edges of, as a book or paper, with a plough.
  7. (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.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]