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[moh] /moʊ/
verb (used with object), mowed, mowed or mown, mowing.
to cut down (grass, grain, etc.) with a scythe or a machine.
to cut grass, grain, etc., from:
to mow the lawn.
verb (used without object), mowed, mowed or mown, mowing.
to cut down grass, grain, etc.
Verb phrases
mow down,
  1. to destroy or kill indiscriminately or in great numbers, as troops in battle.
  2. to defeat, overwhelm, or overcome:
    The team mowed down its first four opponents.
  3. to knock down.
Origin of mow1
before 900; Middle English mowen, Old English māwan; cognate with German mähen Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mow down
Historical Examples
  • June arrived, and it was time to mow down grass to make into hay for the winter, and Jacob had two scythes.

  • They will know when our power is complete and we begin to mow down their cursed grass.

    Mother Maksim Gorky
  • He praises me because I was so quick to mow down a hundred or so commoners, thought Simon.

  • It is far more humane to mow down the insurgents with grape and canister.

    Joseph Bonaparte John S. C. Abbott
  • Then the Eidgenossen began to mow down the Austrians with their terrible weapon the halberd, an invention of their own.

  • If you've made up your mind to mow down everything, don't spare your own legs.

    Fathers and Children Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev
  • I mow down all before me, and cover all with my scarlet robe.

    Paris and its Story Thomas Okey
  • One can mow down a lot of cases, listen to scores of grievances in the open, under a good spreading tree.

  • The flames had no effect on the Annihilator, whereas the electric cannons continued to mow down the Martians.

    Through Space to Mars Roy Rockwood
  • Thanks to his white slaves, he could cut and mow down and gather in his wood, hay, and grain.

    Sons of the Soil Honore de Balzac
British Dictionary definitions for mow down

mow down

(transitive, adverb) to kill in large numbers, esp by gunfire


verb mows, mowing, mowed, mowed, mown
to cut down (grass, crops, etc) with a hand implement or machine
(transitive) to cut the growing vegetation of (a field, lawn, etc)
Derived Forms
mower, noun
Word Origin
Old English māwan; related to Old High German māen, Middle Dutch maeyen to mow, Latin metere to reap, Welsh medi


the part of a barn where hay, straw, etc, is stored
the hay, straw, etc, stored
Word Origin
Old English mūwa; compare Old Norse mūgr heap, Greek mukōn


noun, verb
an archaic word for grimace
Word Origin
C14: from Old French moe a pout, or Middle Dutch mouwe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mow down



Old English mawan "to mow" (class VII strong verb; past tense meow, past participle mawen), from Proto-Germanic *mæanan (cf. Middle Low German maeyen, Dutch maaien, Old High German maen, German mähen "to mow," Old English mæd "meadow"), from PIE root *me- "to mow, to cut down grass or grain with a sickle or scythe" (cf. poetic Greek amao, Latin metere "to reap, mow, crop," Italian mietere, Old Irish meithleorai "reapers," Welsh medi). Related: Mowed; mown; mowing.


"stack of hay," Old English muga, muwa "a heap, swath of corn, crowd of people," earlier muha, from Proto-Germanic *mugon (cf. Old Norse mugr "a heap," mostr "crowd"), of uncertain origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for mow down


movie of the week
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with mow down

mow down

Destroy in great numbers, especially in battle, as in The machine gun mowed them down as they advanced. [ Late 1500s ]
Overwhelm, as in He mowed down the opposition with his arguments. This usage, like the first, alludes to mowing, the cutting of grass with a scythe or other implement.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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