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Revived by Gerard Manley Hopkins in his 1877 (published posthumously in 1918) poem The Windhover; ultimately related to French sillon (furrow).



sillion (uncountable)

  1. (rare) The thick, voluminous, and shiny soil turned over by a plow.
    • 1877 May 30, Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The Windhover: To Christ Our Lord”, in Robert Bridges, editor, Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins: Now First Published [], London: Humphrey Milford, published 1918, →OCLC, stanza 3, page 29:
      No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion / Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear, / Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.
    • 1951, Hazelton Spencer, British Literature, Heath, page 827,
      The hard, plodding work of plowing (of the priest) makes the plowshare shine as it goes down the row turning up the sillion.
    • 1968, Wendell Stacy Johnson, Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Poet As Victorian, Cornell University Press, page 87,
      The freely flying windhover, after all, has something essential in common with the sillion of a plowed field and the broken embers of a…
    • 2006, Mark DeLong, Inetogether,, →ISBN, page 4,
      My tiller cut easily in the moist ground, and the weeds of winter and early spring easily yielded to the tines. Gerard Manly Hopkins wrote that there is “no wonder” that “sheer plod makes plough down sillion shine” — but the fact is, Mr. Hopkins, that there is in spring great wonder in the glimmer of “sillion” falling off the plough. And that wonder takes the “sheer plod” from my feet.
      That is quite the reverse for the gardener who churns under his failed crops in August. In dust, there is no sillion, and that work in hot summer sun is the sheerest of plod.