Definitions and meaning of saw
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: sô, IPA(key): /sɔː/
- Homophones: (in some non-rhotic accents): soar, sore
- Rhymes: -ɔː
- (US) enPR: sô, IPA(key): /sɔ/
- (cot–caught merger) enPR: sä, IPA(key): /sɑː/
- (idiosyncratic, past tense of 'see') IPA(key): /sɑːl/
The noun from Middle English sawe, sawgh, from Old English saga, sagu (“saw”), from Proto-Germanic *sagô, *sagō (“saw”), from Proto-Indo-European *sek- (“to cut”). Cognate with West Frisian seage (“saw”), Dutch zaag (“saw”), German Säge (“saw”), Danish sav (“saw”), Swedish såg (“saw”), Icelandic sög (“saw”), and through Indo-European, with Latin secō (“cut”) and Italian sega (“saw”).
The verb from Middle English sawen, from the noun above.
saw (plural saws)
- A tool with a toothed blade used for cutting hard substances, in particular wood or metal
- A musical saw.
- A sawtooth wave.
saw (third-person singular simple present saws, present participle sawing, simple past sawed, past participle sawed or sawn)
- (transitive) To cut (something) with a saw.
- They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
- (intransitive) To make a motion back and forth similar to cutting something with a saw.
- The fiddler sawed away at his instrument.
- (intransitive) To be cut with a saw.
- The timber saws smoothly.
- (transitive) To form or produce (something) by cutting with a saw.
- to saw boards or planks (i.e. to saw logs or timber into boards or planks)
- to saw shingles; to saw out a panel
From Middle English sawe, from Old English sagu, saga (“story, tale, saying, statement, report, narrative, tradition”), from Proto-West Germanic *sagā, from Proto-Germanic *sagō, *sagǭ (“saying, story”), from Proto-Indo-European *sekʷe-, *skʷē-, from *sekʷ- (“to follow”). Cognate with Dutch sage (“saga”), German Sage (“legend, saga, tale, fable”), Danish sagn (“legend”), Norwegian soga (“story”), Icelandic saga (“story, tale, history”). More at saga, say. Doublet of saga.
saw (plural saws)
- (obsolete) Something spoken; speech, discourse.
- And for thy trew sawys, and I may lyve many wynters, there was never no knyght better rewardid […].
- And for your true discourses, and I may live many winters, there was never no knight better rewarded […].
- A saying or proverb.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:saying
- 1599, William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II Scene VII, lines 152-5.
- And then the justice, / In fair round belly with good capon lined, / With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, / Full of wise saws and modern instances.
- 1902, Charles Robert Ashbee, Masque of the Edwards of England, page 8.
- At his crowning […] the priest in his honour preached on the saw, 'Vox populi, vox Dei.'
- 2017, Andrew Marantz, "Becoming Steve Bannon's Bannon", The New Yorker, Feb 13&20 ed.
- There’s an old saw about Washington, D.C., that staffers in their twenties know more about the minutiae of government than their bosses do.
- (obsolete) Opinion, idea, belief.
- (Can we date this quote by Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
- Þe more comoun sawe is þat Remus was i-slawe for he leep ouer þe newe walles of Rome.
- The more common opinion is that Remus was slain for he lept over the new walls of Rome.
- (obsolete) Proposal, suggestion; possibility.
- (Can we date this quote by Earl of Toulouse and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
- All they assentyd to the sawe; They thoght he spake reson and lawe.
- (obsolete) Dictate; command; decree.
- (Can we date this quote by Spenser and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
- [Love] rules the creatures by his powerful saw.
- simple past tense of see
- (colloquial, nonstandard) past participle of see
- (slang) What's up (either as a greeting or actual question).
- (Doric and most Southern Scots dialects) IPA(key): /sa/
- (Central and some Southern Scots dialects) IPA(key): /sɔ/
- (South Scots) simple past tense of sei
- (Northern and Central) simple past tense of see
saw (plural saws)
- A salve.
- (Standard Zhuang) IPA(key): /θaɯ˨˦/
- Tone numbers: saw1
- Hyphenation: saw
From Proto-Tai *sɯːᴬ (“writing; book”), from Middle Chinese 書 (MC ɕɨʌ, “writing; book”). Cognate with Lao ສື (sư̄), Thai สือ (sʉ̌ʉ).
saw (old orthography səɯ, Sawndip forms 𭨡, 字, 𰗂, 𭓙)
- written language; writing; script
- (Chinese) character
- teaching material
- receipt; voucher
From Proto-Tai *saɰᴬ (“clear; clean”). Cognate with Thai ใส (sǎi, “clear; transparent”), Northern Thai ᩈᩲ, Lao ໃສ (sai), Lü ᦺᦉ (ṡay), Shan သႂ် (sǎue), Ahom 𑜏𑜧 (saw) or 𑜏𑜧𑜤 (sawu).
saw (old orthography səɯ, Sawndip forms 𰝓, 𢙣, 㳏)
- (of transparent objects, water, etc.) clear
- (of liquids other than water) watery; thin
(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium. Particularly: “from 輸?”)
saw (old orthography səɯ, Sawndip forms 𰷙, 賒)
- to lose
- SAVVINESS, the quality of being savvy.
(source: Collins Scrabble Dictionary)