saw (n.1)

[toothed cutting tool] Middle English saue, from Old English sagu, from Proto-Germanic *sago "a cutting tool" (source also of Old English seax "knife," Old Norse sög, Norwegian sag, Danish sav, Swedish såg, Middle Dutch saghe, Dutch zaag, Old High German saga, German Säge "saw"), from PIE root *sek- "to cut" (source also of Latin secare "to cut").

In reference to its use as a musical instrument, by 1905. Saw-grass, the long, toothed grass found in the Southern U.S., is attested by 1822. The saw-fly (1773), destructive to plants, is so called for the construction of the insect's egg-depositing organ.

saw (n.2)

[proverb, saying, maxim], Middle English saue, at first in a general sense, "what is said, talk, words," from Old English sagu "saying, discourse, speech, study, tradition, tale," from Proto-Germanic *saga-, *sagon- (source also of Middle Low German, Middle Dutch sage, zage, German Sage "legend, fable, saga, myth, tradition," Old Norse saga "story, tale, saga"), from PIE root *sek(w)- "to say, utter" (see say (v.)).

The surviving specific sense of "proverb, saying, maxim" is by late 13c. "[A] contemptuous term for an expression that is more common than wise" [Century Dictionary].

saw (v.)

"cut or cut in pieces with a saw," c. 1200, sauen, saghen, from saw (n.1). Strong conjugation (sawn) began by c. 1400 on model of draw, etc. Related: Sawed; sawing. Sawed-off "short, cut short" is attested by 1887, by 1898 specifically of shotguns.

saw (v.)

past tense of see; from Old English plural sawon.

updated on March 08, 2022

Definitions of saw from WordNet
saw (n.)
a condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people;
Synonyms: proverb / adage / byword
saw (n.)
hand tool having a toothed blade for cutting;
saw (n.)
a power tool for cutting wood;
Synonyms: power saw / sawing machine
saw (v.)
cut with a saw;
saw wood for the fireplace
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.