from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A series of objects placed next to each other, usually in a straight line.
  • n. A succession without a break or gap in time: won the title for three years in a row.
  • n. A line of adjacent seats, as in a theater, auditorium, or classroom.
  • n. A continuous line of buildings along a street.
  • transitive v. To place in a row.
  • idiom a tough row to hoe Informal A difficult situation to endure.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To propel a boat with or as if with oars.
  • transitive v. Nautical To propel (a boat) with or as if with oars.
  • transitive v. Nautical To carry in or on a boat propelled by oars.
  • transitive v. Nautical To use (a specified number of oars or people deploying them).
  • transitive v. To propel or convey in a manner resembling rowing of a boat.
  • transitive v. Sports To pull (an oar) as part of a racing crew.
  • transitive v. Sports To race against by rowing.
  • n. The act or an instance of rowing.
  • n. A shift at the oars of a boat.
  • n. Nautical A trip or an excursion in a rowboat.
  • n. A boisterous disturbance or quarrel; a brawl. See Synonyms at brawl.
  • n. An uproar; a great noise.
  • intransitive v. To take part in a quarrel, brawl, or uproar.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A line of objects, often regularly spaced, such as seats in a theatre, vegetable plants in a garden etc.
  • n. A line of entries in a table, etc., going from left to right, as opposed to a column going from top to bottom
  • n. An exercise performed with a pulling motion of the arms towards the back.
  • v. To propel (a boat or other craft) over water using oars.
  • n. A noisy argument.
  • n. A continual loud noise.
  • v. to argue noisily

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Rough; stern; angry.
  • n. A noisy, turbulent quarrel or disturbance; a brawl.
  • n. A series of persons or things arranged in a continued line; a line; a rank; a file.
  • n. The act of rowing; excursion in a rowboat.
  • intransitive v. To use the oar.
  • intransitive v. To be moved by oars.
  • transitive v. To propel with oars, as a boat or vessel, along the surface of water.
  • transitive v. To transport in a boat propelled with oars.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To impel (a boat) along the surface of water by means of oars.
  • To transport by rowing: as, to row one across a stream.
  • To labor with the oar; use oars in propelling a boat through the water; be transported in a boat propelled by oars.
  • To be moved by means of oars: as, the boat rows easily.
  • To go through the motions of rowing in a boat swung at the davits of a ship, as a sailor in punishment for some offense connected with boats or rowing. The forced exercise is called a dry row. [Colloq. in both uses.]
  • To arrange in a line; set or stud with a number of things ranged in a row or line.
  • To injure by rough and wild treatment: as, to row a college room (that is, to damage the furniture in wild behavior).
  • To scold; abuse; upbraid roughly or noisily.
  • To behave in a wild and riotous way; engage in a noisy dispute, affray, or the like.
  • A Scotch form of roll.
  • An obsolete or dialectal form of rough.
  • n. An act of rowing; also, an excursion taken in a rowboat.
  • n. A series of things in a line, especially a straight line; a ra˙nk; a file: as, a row of houses or of trees; rows of benches or of figures; the people stood in rows; to plant corn in rows.
  • n. . A line of writing.
  • n. . A streak, as of blood. Compare rowy.
  • n. A hedge.
  • n. A continuous course or extent; a long passage.
  • n. A line of houses in a town, standing contiguously or near together; especially, such a line of houses nearly or quite alike, or forming an architectural whole: sometimes used as part of the name of a short street, or section of a street, from one corner to the next.
  • n. In organ-building, same as bank, 7, or keyboard.
  • n. A noisy disturbance; a riot; a contest; a riotous noise or outbreak; any disorderly or disturbing affray, brawl. hubbub. or clatter: a colloquial word of wide application.
  • n. Synonyms Uproar, tumult, commotion, broil, affray.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an angry dispute
  • n. (construction) a layer of masonry
  • n. a linear array of numbers, letters, or symbols side by side
  • n. a long continuous strip (usually running horizontally)
  • n. an arrangement of objects or people side by side in a line
  • v. propel with oars
  • n. a continuous chronological succession without an interruption
  • n. the act of rowing as a sport


Middle English, from Old English rāw.
Middle English rowen, from Old English rōwan; see erə- in Indo-European roots.
Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English rāw. Cognate with Dutch rij and German Reihe ("row"). (Wiktionary)
Middle English rowen ("to row"), from Old English rōwan ("to row"), from Proto-Germanic *rōanan (“to row”), from Proto-Indo-European *ere-, *rē- (“to row”). More at rudder. (Wiktionary)
Unclear; some suggest it is a back-formation from rouse, verb. (Wiktionary)


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  • To take part in a quarrel, brawl, or uproar

    August 31, 2013

  • Oar a punt; much ado.

    November 22, 2007

  • Contronymic in the sense: order vs. disorder.

    January 26, 2007