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From Middle English feeld, feld, from Old English feld (field; open or cultivated land, plain; battlefield), from Proto-West Germanic *felþu, from Proto-Germanic *felþuz, *felþaz, *felþą (field), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *pleh₂- (field, plain) or *pleth₂- (flat) (with schwebeablaut).

Cognate with Scots feld, feild (field), North Frisian fjild (field), West Frisian fjild (field), Dutch veld (field), German Feld (field), Swedish fält (field). Related also to Old English folde (earth, land, territory), Old English folm (palm of the hand). More at fold.



field (plural fields)

  1. A land area free of woodland, cities, and towns; an area of open country.
    There are several species of wild flowers growing in this field.
    1. (usually in the plural) The open country near or belonging to a town or city.
      • 1883, Anthony Trollope, Mr. Scarborough's Family, Chap. XXIV:
        Harry shook his head, and wandered away miserable through the fields, and would not in these days even set his foot upon the soil of the park. “He was not going to intrude any farther,” he said to the rector. “You can come to church, at any rate,” his father said, “for he certainly will not be there while you are at the parsonage.” Oh yes, Harry would go to the church. “I have yet to understand that Mr. Prosper is owner of the church, and the path there from the rectory is, at any rate, open to the public;” for at Buston the church stands on one corner of the park.
      • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
        I corralled the judge, and we started off across the fields, in no very mild state of fear of that gentleman's wife, whose vigilance was seldom relaxed. And thus we came by a circuitous route to Mohair, the judge occupied by his own guilty thoughts, and I by others not less disturbing.
  2. A wide, open space that is used to grow crops or to hold farm animals, usually enclosed by a fence, hedge or other barrier.
    There were some cows grazing in a field.
    A crop circle was made in a corn field.
    • 1816, Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto the Third, LV:
      The castled crag of Drachenfels
      Frowns o’er the wide and winding Rhine
      Whose breast of waters broadly swells
      Between the banks which bear the vine
      And hills all rich with blossomed trees
      And fields which promise corn and wine
      And scatter’d cities crowning these
      Whose far white walls along them shine,
      Have strew’d a scene, which I should see
      With double joy wert thou with mo.
    • 1927, F. E. Penny, chapter 5, in Pulling the Strings:
      Anstruther laughed good-naturedly. “[…] I shall take out half a dozen intelligent maistries from our Press and get them to give our villagers instruction when they begin work and when they are in the fields.”
  3. (geology) A region containing a particular mineral.
    an oil field; a gold field
  4. An airfield, airport or air base; especially, one with unpaved runways.
  5. A place where competitive matches are carried out.
    1. A place where a battle is fought; a battlefield.
      • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, King Henry V, Act IV, Scene VI:
        Tarry, sweet soul, for mine; then fly abreast,
        As in this glorious and well-foughten field
        We kept together in our chivalry!
      • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1, Verses 105–110:
        […] What though the field be lost?
        All is not lost; th’ unconquerable will,
        And study of revenge, immortal hate,
        And courage never to submit or yield,
        And what is else not to be overcome;
        That glory never shall his wrath or might!
    2. An area reserved for playing a game or race with one’s physical force.
      soccer field
      Substitutes are only allowed onto the field after their boots are checked.
      • 1848, Anthony Trollope, The Kellys and the O’Kellys, Chap. III:
        Blake was a thorough gambler, and knew well how to make the most of the numerous chances which the turf afforded him. He had a large stud of horses, to the training and working of which he attended almost as closely as the person whom he paid for doing so. But it was in the betting-ring that he was most formidable. It was said, in Kildare Street, that no one at Tattersall's could beat him at a book. He had latterly been trying a wider field than the Curragh supplied him and had, on one or two occasions, run a horse in England with such success, as had placed him, at any rate, quite at the top of the Irish sporting tree.
      1. (baseball, obsolete) The team in a match that throws the ball and tries to catch it when it is hit by the other team (the bat).
      2. (baseball) The outfield.
    3. A place where competitive matches are carried out with figures, or playing area in a board game or a computer game.
    4. A competitive situation, circumstances in which one faces conflicting moves of rivals.
      • 1869, Anthony Trollope, Phineas Finn, Chap. XXV:
        Dr. Finn understood enough of elections for Parliament, and of the nature of boroughs, to be aware that a candidate’s chance of success is very much improved by being early in the field.
    5. (metonymically) All of the competitors in any outdoor contest or trial, or all except the favourites in the betting.
      This racehorse is the strongest in a weak field.
  6. Any of various figurative meanings, often dead metaphors.
    1. (physics) A physical phenomenon (such as force, potential or fluid velocity) that pervades a region; a mathematical model of such a phenomenon that associates each point and time with a scalar, vector or tensor quantity.
      magnetic field; gravitational field; scalar field
    2. Any of certain structures serving cognition.
      1. The extent of a given perception.
        field of view
      2. A realm of practical, direct or natural operation, contrasted with an office, classroom, or laboratory.
        The design needs to be field-tested before we commit to manufacture.
        Field work traditionally distinguishes true archaeologists from armchair archaeologists.
        He needs some time in the field before his judgment can be trusted.
      3. A domain of study, knowledge or practice.
        • 2013 May 10, Audrey Garric, “Urban canopies let nature bloom”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 22, page 30:
          As towns continue to grow, replanting vegetation has become a form of urban utopia and green roofs are spreading fast. Last year 1m square metres of plant-covered roofing was built in France, as much as in the US, and 10 times more than in Germany, the pioneer in this field.
        He was an expert in the field of Chinese history.
      4. An unrestricted or favourable opportunity for action, operation, or achievement.
        • 1848, Thomas Macaulay, chapter IV, in The History Of England From the Accession of James II, volume 1:
          Penn was without doubt a man of eminent virtues. He had a strong sense of religious duty and a fervent desire to promote the happiness of mankind. On one or two points of high importance, he had notions more correct than were, in his day, common even among men of enlarged minds: and as the proprietor and legislator of a province which, being almost uninhabited when it came into his possession, afforded a clear field for moral experiments, he had the rare good fortune of being able to carry his theories into practice without any compromise, and yet without any shock to existing institutions.
        • 1875, Anthony Trollope, chapter 2, in The Way We Live Now, London: Chapman and Hall, []:
          Tidings had reached her of this and the other man’s success, and,—coming near to her still,—of this and that other woman’s earnings in literature. And it had seemed to her that, within moderate limits, she might give a wide field to her hopes.
      5. (algebra) A commutative ring satisfying the field axioms.
        The set of rational numbers, , is the prototypical field.
    3. A physical or virtual location for the input of information in the form of symbols.
      1. (heraldry) The background of the shield.
      2. (vexillology) The background of the flag.
      3. The part of a coin left unoccupied by the main device.
      4. A section of a form which is supposed to be filled with data.
        The form has fields for each element of the customer's home address and shipping address.
        • PHP 5 Forms Required Fields at W3Schools
          From the validation rules table on the previous page, we see that the "Name", "E-mail", and "Gender" fields are required. These fields cannot be empty and must be filled out in the HTML form.
      5. A component of a database in which a single unit of information is stored.
        1. (computing, object-oriented programming) An area of memory or storage reserved for a particular value, subject to virtual access controls.
    4. (electronics, film, animation) Part (usually one half) of a frame in an interlaced signal




Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from field (noun)


  • Japanese: フィールド (fīrudo)


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.

Usage notes[edit]

In the mathematical sense, some languages, such as French, use a term that literally means "body". This denotes a division ring or skew field, not necessarily commutative. If it is clear from context that the quaternions and similar division rings are irrelevant, or that all division rings being considered are finite and therefore fields, this difference is ignored.


field (third-person singular simple present fields, present participle fielding, simple past and past participle fielded)

  1. (transitive, sports) To intercept or catch (a ball) and play it.
  2. (intransitive, baseball, softball, cricket, and other batting sports) To be the team catching and throwing the ball, as opposed to hitting it.
    The blue team are fielding first, while the reds are batting.
  3. (transitive, sports) To place (a team, its players, etc.) in a game.
    • 2012 August 23, Alasdair Lamont, “Hearts 0-1 Liverpool”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      On balance, it was harsh on Hearts, who had given as good as they got against their more-fancied opponents, who, despite not being at full strength, fielded a multi-million pound team.
    The away team fielded two new players and the second-choice goalkeeper.
  4. (transitive) To answer; to address.
    She will field questions immediately after her presentation.
  5. (transitive) To defeat.
    They fielded a fearsome army.
  6. (transitive) To execute research (in the field).
    He fielded the marketing survey about the upcoming product.
  7. (transitive, military) To deploy in the field.
    to field a new land-mine detector



  • (be the team throwing and catching the ball): bat


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.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of feeld