Middle English Dictionary Entry

plǒugh n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) A plow; also, a plow with its draft animal(s; --also coll.; (b) gates of the ~, furrows; ~ lenge, the length of a plowshare; ?the length of a plow; (c) gon (gangan) at the ~, gon (pleien) with the ~, pullen in the ~, of oxen, etc.: to draw a plow; picchen into ~, setten in ~, yoke or harness (oxen) to a plow; putten in peines ~, hitch (sb.) to pain's plow, force (sb.) to undergo suffering; at ploughes yeden, went about their plowing; putten in ploughes, begin to plow up (a place).
(a) Plowing, farm work; ?a service of plowing done by a tenant for his lord [last quot.]; man to the ~, a plowman; faren to the ~, gon at (to) the ~, wenden at the ~, to engage in plowing; putten to ~, put (oneself) to the plow, begin plowing; usen the ~, be a plowman; yede to the ~, engaged in plowing; (b) an agricultural worker, plowman; coll. farmers as a class; also fig.; (c) the means of earning one's living or of performing a task; the object of one's attention [quot.: PPl.A(1)]; governen the ~ of batailles, to control the waging of war, command an army; (d) fig. driven (holden) ~, to bear burdens; holden the ~, gain the authority [last quot.]; weik ben the oxen in min ~, etc., I don't have much energy left for this undertaking; in asseveration: for the oxen in min ~.
In cpds., combs., & phrases designating parts and appurtenances of a plow: (a) ~ bem, the central beam of a plow, to which the other chief parts are attached; (b) ~ betel, ~ mal(le, a mallet carried on a plow, probably used for breaking up clods of earth; ~ bondes, bondes for the ~, ?part of the harness of a plow animal; ~ clout, a metal plate or shield attached to the side of a plow; ~ fot, a device attached to the beam of a plow to regulate the depth of plowing; ?error for ~ pote [quot.: PPl.B]; (c) ~ gere, the harness or equipment for drawing a plow; ~ gode, a goad for driving a plow animal; ~ harneis, the fittings of a plow or part of the harness for a plow animal; ~ hed, the share beam of a plow; ~ hondel, the handle for guiding a plow; (d) ~ iren, any iron part of a plow; ~ irenes, ?the colter and the plowshare; (e) ~ line, ?cord used as part of the harness of a plow animal; ~ patil, a long-handled spade used to remove earth adhering to a plow, or to chop roots; ~ bat, ~ pot, ~ staf, a stick or staff, prob. having the same function as a plough-patil; ~ rest, ?the share beam of a plow; ?part of the moldboard of a plow; ~ shakel, the clevis of a plow; ~ shar, ~ sok, sok of a ~, a plowshare; (f) ~ sho, ?a covering or support for a plowshare, ?a runner for transporting a plow; (g) ~ stert [cp. MDu. ploech-stert], the handle for guiding a plow; ~ strakes, pieces of iron used in making or repairing a plow; ~ strenges, ?part of the harness of a plow animal; ~ timber, timber..for ploughes, wood for making or repairing plows, provided by arrangement between a tenant and his lord; ~ whel, a wheel at the front of a plow.
In cpds. & combs. designating people, animals, and land associated with the plow: (a) ~ beste, an animal that draws a plow; ~ hors, ~ oxe; ~ ware, animals that draw a plow; (b) ~ driver(e, ~ holder(e, ~ swein, a plowman; ~ swein-lond, land held and cultivated by a plowman.
Miscel. cpds. & combs.: (a) ~ ale, ?a festival associated with plowing, at which ale was served; ~ feste, ?payment, in the form of a feast, for boon work of plowing; (b) ~ almesse, ~ scot, a compulsory payment to the church, consisting of a specified amount for each plow or each given area of arable land; ~ bene, ~ bon, a service of plowing required by a lord from his tenants; ~ bon-silver, a payment by a tenant to his lord in lieu of required plowing service; ~ silver, payment made by a tenant to his lord for the privilege of plowing or harrowing land held in tenure of bond service or rent; (c) ~ bote, an allowance of timber which a tenant had the right to cut and use for making or repairing plows.
A team of beasts (usually more than two) that draws a plow, plow animals; ~ of hors, ~ of oxen.
(a) A unit of land measure, a carucate; ~ of lond; plough-lond, q.v.; (b) arable land.
A chariot, a war chariot, ~ of hors; ~ of four hors, a chariot with a four-horse team; also fig. the four-hors ~ of the lord, the four Evangelists.
Astron. artures ~, the group of seven prominent stars in the constellation Ursa Major, the Big Dipper; ~ sterre, ?Arcturus, largest star in Boötes 'the plowman'; ?error for ~ staf.
In proverbs and prov. expressions.
In surnames and place names [see Smith PNElem. 2.67].