There are 2 main definitions of sow in English:

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sow1

Line breaks: sow
Pronunciation: /səʊ
 
/

verb (past sowed /səʊd/; past participle sown /səʊn/ or sowed)

[with object]
1Plant (seed) by scattering it on or in the earth: fill a pot with compost and sow a thin layer of seeds on top
More example sentences
  • Three seeds were sown and plants thinned to one per pot when the first trifoliate leaf emerged.
  • With wheat, for example, men tend to prepare the earth and sow the seed, while women and children do much of the weeding.
  • Four seeds were sown per pot and thinned to a single plant nearest the center.
Synonyms
1.1Plant the seeds of (a plant or crop): catch crops should be sown after minimal cultivation
More example sentences
  • They are otherwise treated as annuals and a fresh crop is sown from seed yearly.
  • However, food supply has deteriorated as fewer and fewer farmers exist and little or no grain crops are sown.
  • Afghan farmers have returned to cotton cultivation, sowing the crop over 6,000 hectares of land in the northern Kunduz province after decades of strife.
1.2Plant (a piece of land) with seed: the field used to be sown with oats
More example sentences
  • As a result, 14,313 acres of land were sown a second time around.
  • ‘In previous years, no one even bothered to plant crops because our lands were dry like a desert, but that has all changed and everyone is sowing their land,’ he said.
  • The drought has caused great harm to the growing of wheat in the province, with more than about 733,000 hectares of wheat land unable to be sown.
Synonyms
1.3 (be sown with) Be thickly covered with: the night sky was sown with stars
More example sentences
  • It is easy to keep and breed in the laboratory, living happily in petri dishes that have been sown with lawns of Escherichia coli bacteria.
1.4Lay or plant (an explosive mine) or cover (territory) with mines: the field had both British and German mines sown in it
More example sentences
  • After the Soviet Army sowed the passes with mines it ceased and has never, so far as I know, recommenced.
  • Mines can be sown in deep water, and are propelled at high speed towards a target, like a miniature homing torpedo.
  • They had sown a lot of mines in the roads and fields nearby and when walking from our house to the flight line we had to stay within a yardwide path which had been cleared of mines and marked with strips of white tape.
2Disseminate or introduce (something undesirable): the new policy has sown confusion and doubt
More example sentences
  • How long they get away with it depends on how long they can sow confusion and doubt.
  • Not only does this harm individual patients, but it also sows a dangerous confusion in the minds of people living with HIV, decision makers and the general public.
  • Don't let's spoil it by creating hydra-headed initiatives that end up competing with one another and sowing confusion in their wake.
Synonyms

Origin

Old English sāwan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zaaien and German säen.

More
  • Sow, in the sense to plant is Old English and had the sense ‘disseminate’ from early on. The image of disseminate (Late Middle English) is the same, for it comes from Latin semen (Late Middle English) meaning ‘seed’. Seed (Old English) in turn comes from the same Germanic root as sow. The differently pronounced sow that is the female pig is also Old English, and goes back to an Indo-European root shared by Latis sus and Greek hus which suggests they were on the menu for our early ancestors.

Phrases

sow the seed (or seeds) of

1
Do something which will eventually bring about (a particular result): the seeds of dissension had been sown
More example sentences
  • This experience sowed the seeds of the eventual skepticism I'd later feel towards much of my first church's teaching and practice.
  • Over 100 years previously, Rousseau, in a broader educational context, sowed the seeds of what is sometimes called the ‘child-centred’ view of education.
  • Such are the quirks of youth that can herald sudden fancies, and occasionally sow the seeds of a lifetime's obsession.

sow one's wild oats

2
see oat.

Derivatives

sower

1
noun
Example sentences
  • And like the New Testament parable of the sower and the seed, it remains to be seen whether the pope's prayers will fall on stony ground or whether they bear much fruit.
  • Alon's idea, which became his master's thesis, was to feed the birds directly, by scattering corn near the lake with a mechanical sower.
  • Oats had to be transported to the field where the sower, carrying a supply in a canvas apron hanging around his neck, used both hands to scatter seed as he walked.

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There are 2 main definitions of sow in English:

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sow2

Line breaks: sow
Pronunciation: /saʊ
 
/

noun

1An adult female pig, especially one which has farrowed.
Example sentences
  • A day before the sows are ready to farrow, the farrowing boxes are set up in the rooms.
  • In the fall, he makes a daily chore out of selecting the best ears to plant the following season and feeding the culled ears to his gestating sows on pasture.
  • Claw lesions were reported to be more common in loose-housed sows than in either tethered or stallhoused sows.
1.1The female of certain other mammals, e.g. the guinea pig.
Example sentences
  • If the sow has not eaten enough to sustain herself over the hibernation, the egg will not implant.
  • Management of the trial was designed to minimise adverse welfare effects on the badgers and included a three-month period in the spring during which no culling took place in order to protect lactating sows and their cubs.
  • Bill and Madeline had even schooled the children in poses for various combinations of bears: a solo male, a sow with cubs.
2A large block of metal (larger than a ‘pig’) made by smelting.
Example sentences
  • He said most of the stock is ingot, whereas more consumers prefer T-bar or sow.

Origin

Old English sugu; related to Dutch zeug, German Sau, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin sus and Greek hus 'pig'.

More
  • Sow, in the sense to plant is Old English and had the sense ‘disseminate’ from early on. The image of disseminate (Late Middle English) is the same, for it comes from Latin semen (Late Middle English) meaning ‘seed’. Seed (Old English) in turn comes from the same Germanic root as sow. The differently pronounced sow that is the female pig is also Old English, and goes back to an Indo-European root shared by Latis sus and Greek hus which suggests they were on the menu for our early ancestors.

Phrases

you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear

1
proverb You can’t create a fine product from inferior materials.
Example sentences
  • But you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
  • Thompson says, ‘you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.’
  • My grandmother used to tell me you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Definition of sow in:

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