sallow (adj.)

of the skin or complexion, "of a sickly color, discolored, yellowish," Middle English salu, from Old English salo "dusky, dark" (related to sol "dark, dirty"), from Proto-Germanic *salwa- (source also of Middle Dutch salu "discolored, dirty," Old High German salo "dirty gray," Old Norse sölr "dirty yellow"), from PIE root *sal- (2) "dirty, gray" (source also of Old Church Slavonic slavojocije "grayish-blue color," Russian solovoj "cream-colored"). Related: Sallowness.

sallow (n.)

type of tall, shrubby willow plant of the Old World, Middle English saloue, from Old English sealh (Anglian salh), from Proto-Germanic *salhjon (source also of Old Norse selja, Old High German salaha, and the first element in the German compound Salweide).

This is reconstructed to be from PIE *sal(i)k- "willow" (source also of Latin salix "willow" (taken in botany as the genus name), Middle Irish sail, Welsh helygen, Breton halegen "willow"). French saule "willow" is from Frankish salha, from the Germanic root. It was used in Palm Sunday processions and decorations in England before the importing of real palm leaves began.

updated on December 03, 2021