• Saw


    • RP enPR: sô, IPA: /sɔː/Homophones: (in some non-rhotic accents): soar, sore
    • Rhymes: -ɔː
    • US enPR: sô, IPA: /sÉ”/
    • cot-caught enPR: sä, IPA: /sɑː/(idiosyncratic, past tense of 'see') IPA: /sɑːl/

    Origin 1

    From Middle English sawe, 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").

    Full definition of saw



    (plural saws)
    1. A tool with a toothed blade used for cutting hard substances, in particular wood or metal
    2. A musical saw.
    3. A sawtooth wave.


    1. (transitive) To cut (something) with a saw.
    2. (intransitive) To make a motion back and forth similar to cutting something with a saw.The fiddler sawed away at his instrument.
    3. (intransitive) To be cut with a saw.The timber saws smoothly.
    4. (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

    Related terms

    Origin 2

    From Middle English sawe, from Old English sagu, saga ("story, tale, saying, statement, report, narrative, tradition"), from Proto-Germanic *sagō, *sagǭ ("saying, story"), from Proto-Indo-European *sekʷe-, *skʷē- ("to tell, talk"). 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.



    (plural saws)
    1. (obsolete) Something spoken; speech, discourse.
      • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book V:And for thy trew sawys, and I may lyve many wynters, there was never no knyght better rewardid ....
    2. (often old saw) A saying or proverb.
    3. (obsolete) opinion, idea, belief; by thy ~, in your opinion; commune ~, common opinion; common knowledge; on no ~, by no means.Þe more comoun sawe is þat Remus was i-slawe for he leep ouer þe newe walles of Rome.Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden
    4. (obsolete) proposal, suggestion; possibility.All they assentyd to the sawe; They thoght he spake reson and lawe.Earl of Toulouse
    5. (obsolete) Dictate; command; decree.
      • SpenserLove rules the creatures by his powerful saw.


    Origin 3

    See see. Cognate with Dutch zag, German sah, Danish så, Swedish såg, Icelandic sá.


    1. saw

      (simple past of see)


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