- (of land) plowed and left unseeded for a season or more; uncultivated.
- not in use; inactive: My creative energies have lain fallow this year.
- land that has undergone plowing and harrowing and has been left unseeded for one or more growing seasons.
verb (used with object)
- to make (land) fallow for agricultural purposes.
- (of land) left unseeded after being ploughed and harrowed to regain fertility for a crop
- (of an idea, state of mind, etc) undeveloped or inactive, but potentially useful
- land treated in this way
- (tr) to leave (land) unseeded after ploughing and harrowing it
- of a light yellowish-brown colour
c.1300, from Old English fealh “fallow land,” from Proto-Germanic *falgo (cf. Old High German felga “harrow,” German Felge “plowed-up fallow land,” East Frisian falge “fallow,” falgen “to break up ground”), perhaps from a derivation of PIE root *pel- “to turn,” assimilated in English to fallow (adj.) because of the color of plowed earth. Originally “plowed land,” then “land plowed but not planted” (1520s). As an adjective, from late 14c.
“pale yellow, brownish yellow,” Old English fealu “reddish yellow, yellowish-brown, tawny, dusk-colored,” from Proto-Germanic *falwa- (cf. Old Saxon falu, Old Norse fölr, Middle Dutch valu, Dutch vaal, Old High German falo, German falb), from PIE *pal-wo- “dark-colored, gray” (cf. Old Church Slavonic plavu, Lithuanian palvas “sallow;” Greek polios, Sanskrit palitah, Welsh llwyd “gray;” Latin pallere “to be pale”), from root *pal- (see pallor). It also forms the root of words for “pigeon” in Greek (peleia), Latin (palumbes), and Old Prussian (poalis).