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Etymology 1[edit]

A photograph of a ploughed field.
A fallow field.

From Middle English falow, from Old English fealh (fallow land), from Proto-Germanic *falgō (compare Saterland Frisian falge, Dutch valg, German Felge), from Proto-Indo-European *polḱéh₂ (arable land) (compare Gaulish olca, Russian полоса́ (polosá)).


fallow (countable and uncountable, plural fallows)

  1. (agriculture, uncountable) Ground ploughed and harrowed but left unseeded for one year.
  2. (agriculture, uncountable) Uncultivated land.
  3. The ploughing or tilling of land, without sowing it for a season.
    • (Can we date this quote by Sinclair and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      By a complete summer fallow, land is rendered tender and mellow. The fallow gives it a better tilth than can be given by a fallow crop.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


fallow (comparative more fallow, superlative most fallow)

  1. (of agricultural land) Ploughed but left unseeded for more than one planting season.
  2. (of agricultural land) Left unworked and uncropped for some amount of time.
  3. (figuratively) Inactive; undeveloped.
    a fallow period in one's career
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English falowen, falwen, from Old English fealgian (to fallow; break up land), from Proto-Germanic *falgōną (to fallow). Cognate with Dutch valgen (to plow lightly; fallow), German Low German falgen (to till; dig a hole).


fallow (third-person singular simple present fallows, present participle fallowing, simple past and past participle fallowed)

  1. (transitive) To make land fallow for agricultural purposes.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
A photograph of a light brown deer.
A fallow deer.

From Middle English falwe, from Old English fealu, from Proto-Germanic *falwaz (compare West Frisian feal, Dutch vaal, German falb, fahl), from Proto-Indo-European *polwos (compare Lithuanian pal̃vas (sallow, wan), Russian половый (polovyj, wan, light yellow), Serbo-Croatian plâv (blond, blue), Ancient Greek πολιός (poliós, grey)), from Proto-Indo-European *pel- (pale).


fallow (comparative more fallow, superlative most fallow)

  1. Of a pale red or yellow, light brown; dun.
    a fallow deer or greyhound
    fallow colour:  
Related terms[edit]


  • fallow” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.