Old English sawan "to scatter seed upon the ground or plant it in the earth, disseminate" (class VII strong verb; past tense seow, past participle sawen), from Proto-Germanic *sean (source also of Old Norse sa, Old Saxon saian, Middle Dutch sayen, Dutch zaaien, Old High German sawen, German säen, Gothic saian), from PIE root *sē- "to sow," source of semen, season (n.), seed (n.). Figurative sense was in Old English.
Old English sugu, su "female of the swine," from Proto-Germanic *su- (source also of Old Saxon, Old High German su, German Sau, Dutch zeug, Old Norse syr), from PIE root *su- (source also of Sanskrit sukarah "wild boar, swine;" Avestan hu "wild boar;" Greek hys "swine;" Latin sus "swine," swinus "pertaining to swine;" Old Church Slavonic svinija "swine;" Lettish sivens "young pig;" Welsh hucc, Irish suig "swine; Old Irish socc "snout, plowshare"), possibly imitative of pig noise, a notion reinforced by the fact that Sanskrit sukharah means "maker of (the sound) 'su.' " Related to swine. As a term of abuse for a woman, attested from c. 1500. Sow-bug "hog louse" is from 1750.
updated on January 31, 2018