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See also: Harrow


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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English harow, harowe, haru, harwe, from Old English *hearwe or *hearge (perhaps ultimately cognate with harvest), or from Old Norse harfr/herfi[1]; compare Danish harve (harrow), Dutch hark (rake). Akin to Latin carpere.


harrow (plural harrows)

  1. A device consisting of a heavy framework having several disks or teeth in a row, which is dragged across ploughed land to smooth or break up the soil, to remove weeds or cover seeds; a harrow plow.
    • 1918, Louise & Aylmer Maude, trans. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Oxford 1998, p. 153:
      He sent for the carpenter, who was under contract to be with the threshing-machine, but it turned out that he was mending the harrows, which should have been mended the week before Lent.
    • 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter X:
      “It may be fun for her,” I said with one of my bitter laughs, “but it isn't so diverting for the unfortunate toads beneath the harrow whom she plunges so ruthlessly in the soup.”
    • 1969, Bessie Head, When Rain Clouds Gather, Heinemann 1995, p. 28:
      Part of your job would be to learn tractor ploughing and the use of planters, harrows, and cultivators.
  2. (military) An obstacle formed by turning an ordinary harrow upside down, the frame being buried.
See also[edit]


harrow (third-person singular simple present harrows, present participle harrowing, simple past and past participle harrowed)

  1. (transitive) To drag a harrow over; to break up with a harrow.
  2. (transitive) To traumatize or disturb; to frighten or torment.
  3. (transitive) To break or tear, as if with a harrow; to wound; to lacerate; to torment or distress; to vex.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English harrow, harrowe, haro, from Old French haro, harou, harau, harol, from Frankish *harot, *hara (here; hither), akin to Old Saxon herod, Old High German herot, Middle Dutch hare.



  1. (obsolete) A call for help, or of distress, alarm etc.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.vi:
      Harrow, the flames, which me consume (said hee) / Ne can be quencht, within my secret bowels bee.


  1. ^ According to ODS eng. harrow maaske laant fra nordisk, Eng. harrow probably loaned from Norse