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To move, progress, or develop at a slow but constant and deliberate pace, especially that which is menial, time consuming, or tedious. Primarily heard in UK. John: "Hey Steve, what's new?" Steve: "Nothing much, just been ploughing on with research for my thesis." A: "I've still got a ways to go before I'll be finished clearing out debris from the property." B: "Well, just keep ploughing on until you're done!"
plow the sands
To do something that seems futile. I know that I'm just plowing the sands by telling you to stay away from that boy, but I'm your father, and I don't want to see you get hurt. That couch will never fit up the steps—tell them to stop plowing the sands!
plough a lone(ly) furrow
To do something in isolation; to act without the help of others. Primarily heard in UK. I tried to offer Jonathan help with the project, but he'd rather plough a lone furrow.
plough (one's) own furrow
To do something in isolation; to act without the help or influence of others. Primarily heard in UK. I tried to offer Jonathan help with the project, but he'd rather plough his own furrow. As an artist, I think you should try to plough your own furrow before worrying what other people might want.
put (one's) hand to the plough
To set to work; to begin or get busy working. (Spelled "hand to the plow" in American English.) Primarily heard in UK. We've spent a long time planning our business model and strategy for success; now it's time to put our hand to the plough and get things moving. My father loves his work; even after retiring, he still puts his hand to the plough with various projects.
plough a lonely furrowor
plough a lone furrowBRITISH, LITERARY
If someone ploughs a lonely furrow or ploughs a lone furrow, they do something by themselves and in their own way, without any help or support from other people. It seems that Shattock was something of an original thinker, ploughing a lonely furrow. Stein sandwich bar continues to plough a lone furrow as the building's only occupant. Note: This expression is very variable. Their government is more than adept at ploughing its own diplomatic furrow. Note: A furrow is a long narrow trench made in the ground by a plough.
plough a lonely (or your own) furrowfollow a course of action in which you are isolated or in which you can act independently.
plough the sandlabour uselessly.
Ploughing the sand has been a proverbial image of fruitless activity since the late 16th century.
put (or set) your hand to the ploughembark on a task.
This phrase alludes to Luke 9:62: ‘And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’.
ˌplough a lonely, your own, etc. ˈfurrow(literary) do things that other people do not do, or be interested in things that other people are not interested in: There are several English teachers at the school, but Jeanne continues to plough a lonely furrow, teaching French and German.
A furrow is a long narrow cut in the ground made by a plough (= a large piece of farming equipment used for cutting the soil).