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[sal-oh] /ˈsæl oʊ/
adjective, sallower, sallowest.
of a sickly, yellowish color:
sallow cheeks; a sallow complexion.
verb (used with object)
to make sallow.
Origin of sallow1
before 1000; Middle English sal(o)we, Old English salo; cognate with Old Norse sǫlr yellow; compare French sale dirty (< Gmc)
Related forms
sallowish, adjective
sallowness, noun
1. bilious, jaundiced.


[sal-oh] /ˈsæl oʊ/
noun, British
any of several shrubby Old World willows, especially Salix atrocinerea or the pussy willow, S. caprea.
before 900; Middle English; Old English sealh; cognate with Old High German salaha, Latin salix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sallow
  • The bartender, a sallow giant with a mustache, plays chess between serving espressos and sugar-sweetened snacks.
  • His features are pinched and drawn, his complexion sallow.
  • For some occult reason, it gives my sallow skin a real energy boost and my spirits a lift.
  • Their eyes would turn, their posture would change, their face would go sallow.
  • Pink or purple frames appear to brighten sallow coloring.
  • sallow clowns with red noses glower under peaked hats, symbols of humiliation.
  • The rare red-winged sallow moth uses red oak as one of its host plants and may be found in this community.
  • The state rare red-winged sallow moth uses red oak as one of its host plants and may be found in this community.
  • The warm, olive background and deep red upholstery of the chair serve to complement the sallow complexion and sandy-colored hair.
British Dictionary definitions for sallow


(esp of human skin) of an unhealthy pale or yellowish colour
(transitive) to make sallow
Derived Forms
sallowish, adjective
sallowly, adverb
sallowness, noun
Word Origin
Old English salu; related to Old Norse sol seaweed (Icelandic sōlr yellowish), Old High German salo, French sale dirty


any of several small willow trees, esp the Eurasian Salix cinerea (common sallow), which has large catkins that appear before the leaves
a twig or the wood of any of these trees
Derived Forms
sallowy, adjective
Word Origin
Old English sealh; related to Old Norse selja, Old High German salaha, Middle Low German salwīde, Latin salix
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 sallow

Old English salo "dusky, dark" (related to sol "dark, dirty"), from Proto-Germanic *salwa- (cf. Middle Dutch salu "discolored, dirty," Old High German salo "dirty gray," Old Norse sölr "dirty yellow"), from PIE root *sal- "dirty, gray" (cf. Old Church Slavonic slavojocije "grayish-blue color," Russian solovoj "cream-colored"). Related: Sallowness.


"shrubby willow plant," Old English sealh (Anglian salh), from Proto-Germanic *salhjon (cf. Old Norse selja, Old High German salaha, and first element in German compound Salweide), from PIE *sal(i)k- "willow" (cf. Latin salix "willow," Middle Irish sail, Welsh helygen, Breton halegen "willow"). French saule "willow" is from Frankish salha, from the Germanic root. Used in Palm Sunday processions and decorations in England before the importing of real palm leaves began.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sallow in Medicine

sallow sal·low (sāl'ō)
adj. sal·low·er, sal·low·est
Of a sickly yellowish hue or complexion. v. sal·lowed, sal·low·ing, sal·lows
To make sallow.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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