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  • sallow
  • audio pronunciation
  • \SAL-oh\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: of a grayish greenish yellow color suggesting sickliness
  • EXAMPLES

She decided not to buy the beige blouse because it made her skin look washed-out and sallow.

"Butterfield is perfect in the title role, his sallow complexion, sunken eyes and haunted gaze every inch the angst-ridden lad that Card created on the page." — From a movie review by Derrick Bang in The Davis Enterprise (California), November 1, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

There is no hint of sickliness in the etymology of "sallow." The word appears in Old English as "salu" or "salo," and could mean "dusky" or "dark" or "grayish greenish yellow." "Salu" (or "salo") is akin to Old English "sōl" ("dark, dirty"), Old High German "salo" ("murky, dirty gray"), Old Norse "sölr" ("dirty"), and even Sanskrit "sāra" or "sāla," which carries the basic meaning of "dirty gray." "Sallow," however, has for much of its history been used specifically to describe the skin or complexion of one who is unwell.

Test Your Vocabulary: What 10-letter word begins with "i" and can mean "slightly ill" or "not willing to do something"? The answer is …

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