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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 now it's time to put our hand to the plough. My father loves his work. Even after retiring, he still puts his hand to the plough with various projects.
plow (something) back (into something)
To reinvest financial gains back into a business or industry. (Usually spelled "plough" in British English.) Even if you're company is thriving, it could still go bankrupt if you don't plow those profits back into the business. Many traders have been plowing part of their enormous earnings back into the tech market, as shares in the biggest companies continue to skyrocket.
To plow the soil so as to mix some other substance thoroughly into it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "plow" and "in." (Usually spelled "plough" in British English.) You plow in this new kind of insecticide so that the plants are naturally resistant to bugs as they grow. Make sure you plow the fertilizer in before you sow the seeds.
See also: plow
plow through (something)
1. To create a path through some heavy substance with or as with a plow. (Usually spelled "plough" in British English.) We had to plow through the snow to reach our neighbor's house. The mud was so horrible after the floods receded that we were plowing through it for days.
2. To progress through something with great speed, enthusiasm, or determination. Wow, you really plowed through that book! Are you ready for the next one in the series? I know you want to plow through these early lessons, but you should really take your time so the information sinks in.
plow up (something)
1. To clear some pathway by digging into it with or as with a plow. (Usually spelled "plough" in British English.) I decided to plow up the road because it had become so uneven and overgrown with shrubs.
2. To damage a road or pathway with the use of a plow. The city trucks really plowed up the asphalt on our road when they cleared away the snow. It looks terrible now, and it's horribly bumpy to drive on!
3. To drive up or along some road or pathway with great, reckless haste. The cab driver plowed up the small mountain road at breakneck speed, nearly crashing into three different cars along the way.
4. To discover something as a result of uncovering it with a plow. I couldn't believe it when Jake plowed up an original Superman #1, wrapped in plastic and in mint condition. I plowed up Dad's cell phone this morning. He'd been looking for it all winter!
plow something in
to work something into soil by plowing. Lay the fertilizer down and plow it in. Plow in the fertilizer as soon as you can.
See also: plow
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).