Sallow vs Sickly - What's the difference?

sallow | sickly | Related terms |

Sallow is a related term of sickly.

As adjectives the difference between sallow and sickly

is that sallow is (lb) yellowish skin colour while sickly is frequently ill; often in poor health; given to becoming ill.

As a noun sallow

is a european willow, salix caprea , that has broad leaves, large catkins and tough wood.

As a verb sickly is

to make sickly.

As an adverb sickly is

in a sick manner.



Etymology 1

From (etyl) salowe, from (etyl) salu, from (etyl) ).


  • (lb) Yellowish skin colour.
  • # Of a sickly pale colour.
  • #*
  • #*:Then his sallow face brightened, for the hall had been carefully furnished, and was very clean. ¶ There was a neat hat-and-umbrella stand, and the stranger's weary feet fell soft on a good, serviceable dark-red drugget, which matched in colour the flock-paper on the walls.
  • #(lb) Of a tan colour, associated with people from southern Europe or East Asia.
  • #*2007 , David McWilliams, " We must begin the culture debate", 23 December:
  • #*:The girls are mostly Slavic-pretty, long-limbed with high cheekbones, sallow skin and green eyes. They are the closest thing to supermodels that Mulhuddart has ever seen.
  • #*2012 , Aisling, " Am I pink or yellow? How to choose the right foundation tone. And what is the deal with Mac foundations?" (17 January):
  • #*:A yellow undertone is often found on people with sallow skin – e.g. Asian.
  • #*2012 , Billy Keane, " I feel so much for Mickey. Maybe there is peace for him in sport", Irish Independent (13 June):
  • #*:She had such lovely sallow skin, the handsome high cheekbones of the north with the brown conker-colour eyes and the dark silken hair.
  • Dirty; murky.
  • Etymology 2

    From (etyl) salwe, from (etyl) sealh, from (etyl) (compare Welsh helyg, Latin salix), probably originally a borrowing from some other language.


    (wikipedia sallow) (en noun)
  • A European willow, Salix caprea , that has broad leaves, large catkins and tough wood.
  • *1819 , Keats, :
  • *:Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
  • *:Among the river sallows , borne aloft
  • *:Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
  • Willow twigs.
  • * (and other bibliographic details) Fawkes
  • Bend the pliant sallow to a shield.
  • * (and other bibliographic details) Emerson
  • The sallow knows the basketmaker's thumb.
    Derived terms
    * ) * sallow flute






  • Frequently ill; often in poor health; given to becoming ill.
  • a sickly child
  • Having the appearance of sickness or ill health; appearing ill, infirm or unhealthy; pale.
  • a sickly plant
  • * Dryden
  • The moon grows sickly at the sight of day.
  • Weak; faint; suggesting unhappiness.
  • a sickly smile
  • Somewhat sick; disposed to illness; attended with disease.
  • * Shakespeare
  • This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
  • Tending to produce disease.
  • a sickly''' autumn; a '''sickly climate
  • Tending to produce nausea; sickening.
  • a sickly''' smell; '''sickly sentimentality


  • To make sickly.
  • * Shakespeare
  • Sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought.
  • * 1840 , S. M. Heaton, George Heaton, Thoughts on the Litany, by a naval officer's orphan daughter (page 58)
  • * 1871 , Gail Hamilton, Country living and country thinking (page 109)
  • He evidently thinks the sweet little innocents never heard or thought of such a thing before, and would go on burying their curly heads in books, and sicklying their rosy faces with "the pale cast of thought" till the end of time


    (en adverb)
  • In a sick manner.
  • * 2010 , Rowan Somerville, The End of Sleep (page 66)
  • The creaseless horizontal face of the giant smiled sickly , leering.