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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English salowe, from Old English salu, from Proto-Germanic *salwaz (compare Dutch zaluw, dialectal German sal), from Proto-Indo-European *solH- (compare Welsh halog, Latin salīva, Russian соловый (solóvyj, cream-colored)).


sallow (comparative sallower, superlative sallowest)

  1. (skin colour) yellowish
    1. (most regions, of Caucasian skin) of a sickly pale colour
    2. (Ireland) of a tan colour, associated with people from southern Europe or East Asia:
  2. Dirty; murky.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English salwe, from Old English sealh, from Proto-Germanic *salhaz, masculine variant of *salhō, *salhjōn (compare Low German Sal, Saal; Swedish sälg), from Proto-Indo-European *sh₂lk-, *sh₂lik- (compare Welsh helyg, Latin salix), probably originally a borrowing from some other language.


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sallow (plural sallows)

  1. A European willow, Salix caprea, that has broad leaves, large catkins and tough wood.
    • 1819, Keats, To Autumn:
      Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
      Among the river sallows, borne aloft
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
  2. Willow twigs.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Fawkes
      Bend the pliant sallow to a shield.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Emerson
      The sallow knows the basketmaker's thumb.
Derived terms[edit]