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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English tilier; equivalent to till +‎ -er.


tiller (plural tillers)

  1. A person who tills; a farmer.
    • 2000, Alasdair Gray, The Book of Prefaces, Bloomsbury 2002, page 63:
      In France, Europe's most fertile and cultivated land, the tillers of it suffered more and more hunger.
  2. A machine that mechanically tills the soil.
Derived termsEdit
See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English *tilȝer, *telȝer, from Old English telgor, telgra, telgre ("twig, branch, shoot") (also telga, telge (whence tillow)), from Proto-Germanic *telgô, *telgǭ, *telguz (twig, branch), from Proto-Indo-European *delgʰ- (to split, divide, cut, carve). Cognate with Dutch telg (descendant, scion, offshoot, shoot), Dutch Low Saxon telge (twig, branch), German Zelge (twig, branch, bough), Swedish telning (branch, scion, sapling), Icelandic tág (willow-twig).

Alternative formsEdit


tiller (plural tillers)

  1. (obsolete) A young tree.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Evelyn to this entry?)
  2. A shoot of a plant which springs from the root or bottom of the original stalk; a sapling; a sucker.


tiller (third-person singular simple present tillers, present participle tillering, simple past and past participle tillered)

  1. (intransitive) To produce new shoots from the root or from around the bottom of the original stalk; stool.

Etymology 3Edit

Anglo-Norman telier (beam used in weaving), from Medieval Latin telarium, from Latin tēla (web).


tiller (plural tillers)

  1. (archery) The stock; a beam on a crossbow carved to fit the arrow, or the point of balance in a longbow.
    • Beaumont and Fletcher
      You can shoot in a tiller.
  2. (nautical) A bar of iron or wood connected with the rudderhead and leadline, usually forward, in which the rudder is moved as desired by the tiller (FM 55-501).
  3. (nautical) The handle of the rudder which the helmsman holds to steer the boat, a piece of wood or metal extending forward from the rudder over or through the transom. Generally attached at the top of the rudder.
  4. A handle; a stalk.
  5. The rear-wheel steering control, aboard a tiller truck.
  6. (Britain, dialectal, obsolete) A small drawer; a till.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
Derived termsEdit