Sew vs. sow

  • The verb sew always relates to stitching, knitting, and other tasks involving a needle and thread or a sewing machine. It also appears in the figurative phrasal verb sew up, meaning to complete successfully or to make sure of.


    As a verb, sow means (1) to scatter seed for growing, or (2) to implant. It’s the correct word in the idiom sow [one’s] wild oats.



    The Dornish are like the Iraqi Kurds of Westeros, ready for revenge once they sew up their big patron. [Wired]

    Since March, the cross-community textile art project has brought women together for twice-weekly sewing meetings. [Irish Times]

    How do you sow your wild oats, live the salad days of your youth, and still remain the darling of golf? [ESPN]

    The journalists were unwittingly sowing the seeds of their own destruction. [Australian]

    See also

    Sow wild oats


    1. chris waitrose says

      I am in the garden sowing seeds, my wife is in the house sewing shirts. We are both sowing?/sewing? how does one spell this? Please do not say T, H, I ,S.

      • AnotherOutsider says

        You are sowing, she is sewing, your spelling is correct. Though you are not both doing one or the other, each of you is doing one.

    About Grammarist
    Contact | Privacy policy | Home
    © Copyright 2009-2014 Grammarist