sallow

noun
sal·​low | \ˈsa-(ˌ)lō \

Definition of sallow 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: any of several Old World broad-leaved willows (such as Salix caprea) including important sources of charcoal and tanbark

sallow

adjective

Definition of sallow (Entry 2 of 2)

: of a grayish greenish yellow color

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Other Words from sallow

Adjective

sallowish \ˈsa-​lə-​wish \ adjective
sallowness \ˈsa-​lō-​nəs, -​lə-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

Adjective

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.

Examples of sallow in a Sentence

Adjective

he was still a bit sallow after a week spent in bed with the flu

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Purple neutralizes sallow, yellow tones, while orange and red balance out blue and purple dark circles. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "Erborian's CC Cream Cancels Out Redness Like Magic," 16 Oct. 2018 Chiffchaffs and willow warblers sing in the sallow and alder, while every leaf seems to hold a butterfly or dragonfly or hoverfly. The Economist, "Brexit is reverberating in British literature," 5 July 2018 With hints of greens and blues beneath her sallow flesh, the girl looks sickly. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New England museums to visit this summer and fall," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

At death’s door, Grey’s saved by a complete artificial overhaul, including the smartbug critter invented by the tech genius with the sallow complexion (Harrison Gilbertson, on what might be termed a Jared Leto summer internship). Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "'Upgrade' review: Digital cockroaches replace human brains in this extremely gory thriller," 31 May 2018 Packer erases and etches into her father’s bare, sallow skin, making it worn and ravaged. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "At the Rose, taking tenderness to unexpected places," 25 Apr. 2018 The lavender shade in L'Oréal Paris Cosmetics Infallible Total Cover Color Correcting Kit helps rid your skin of that not-so-cute sallow look. Deanna Pai, Redbook, "6 Tiny Beauty Steps That Make All the Difference," 19 May 2017 Kahn dispensed with the classic library layout: a central reading room with rows of desks and sallow lamp light. Sara Bliss, WSJ, "Why I Hated America’s Most Stunning Library—At First," 21 Sep. 2017 The lavender shade in L'Oréal Paris Cosmetics Infallible Total Cover Color Correcting Kit helps rid your skin of that not-so-cute sallow look. Deanna Pai, Redbook, "6 Tiny Beauty Steps That Make All the Difference," 19 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sallow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sallow

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sallow

Noun

Middle English, from Old English sealh; akin to Old High German salha sallow, Latin salix willow

Adjective

Middle English salowe, from Old English salu; akin to Old High German salo murky, Russian solovyĭ yellowish gray

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Dictionary Entries near sallow

sallenders

sallet

salley

sallow

sallow thorn

sallowy

Sallust

Statistics for sallow

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sallow

The first known use of sallow was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for sallow

sallow

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of sallow

: slightly yellow in a way that does not look healthy

sallow

adjective
sal·​low | \ˈsa-lō \

Kids Definition of sallow

: slightly yellow in a way that does not look healthy His hair was short and wild …, his face starved and sallow with grief.— Louise Erdrich, The Birchbark House

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More from Merriam-Webster on sallow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sallow

Spanish Central: Translation of sallow

Nglish: Translation of sallow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sallow for Arabic Speakers

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