AskDefine | Define saw

Dictionary Definition



1 a condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people [syn: proverb, adage, byword]
2 hand tool having a toothed blade for cutting
3 a power tool for cutting wood [syn: power saw, sawing machine] v : cut with a saw; "saw wood for the fireplace" [also: sawn]see n : the seat within a bishop's diocese where his cathedral is located adv : compare (used in texts to point the reader to another location in the text) [syn: cf., cf, confer, see also]


1 perceive by sight or have the power to perceive by sight; "You have to be a good observer to see all the details"; "Can you see the bird in that tree?"; "He is blind--he cannot see"
2 perceive (an idea or situation) mentally; "Now I see!"; "I just can't see your point"; "Does she realize how important this decision is?"; "I don't understand the idea" [syn: understand, realize, realise]
3 perceive or be contemporaneous with; "We found Republicans winning the offices"; "You'll see a lot of cheating in this school"; "I want to see results"; "The 1960 saw the rebellion of the younger generation against established traditions"; "I want to see results" [syn: witness, find]
4 imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind; "I can't see him on horseback!"; "I can see what will happen"; "I can see a risk in this strategy" [syn: visualize, visualise, envision, project, fancy, figure, picture, image]
5 deem to be; "She views this quite differently from me"; "I consider her to be shallow"; "I don't see the situation quite as negatively as you do" [syn: consider, reckon, view, regard]
6 get to know or become aware of, usually accidentally; "I learned that she has two grown-up children"; "I see that you have been promoted" [syn: learn, hear, get word, get wind, pick up, find out, get a line, discover]
7 see or watch; "view a show on television"; "This program will be seen all over the world"; "view an exhibition"; "Catch a show on Broadway"; "see a movie" [syn: watch, view, catch, take in]
8 find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort; "I want to see whether she speaks French"; "See whether it works"; "find out if he speaks Russian"; "Check whether the train leaves on time" [syn: determine, check, find out, ascertain, watch, learn]
9 come together; "I'll probably see you at the meeting"; "How nice to see you again!" [syn: meet, ran into, encounter, run across, come across]
10 be careful or certain to do something; make certain of something; "He verified that the valves were closed"; "See that the curtains are closed"; "control the quality of the product" [syn: check, insure, see to it, ensure, control, ascertain, assure]
11 go to see for professional or business reasons; "You should see a lawyer"; "We had to see a psychiatrist"
12 go to see for a social visit; "I went to see my friend Mary the other day"
13 visit a place, as for entertainment; "We went to see the Eiffel Tower in the morning" [syn: visit]
14 take charge of or deal with; "Could you see about lunch?"; "I must attend to this matter"; "She took care of this business" [syn: attend, take care, look]
15 receive as a specified guest; "the doctor will see you now"; "The minister doesn't see anybody before noon"
16 date regularly; have a steady relationship with; "Did you know that she is seeing an older man?"; "He is dating his former wife again!" [syn: go steady, go out, date]
17 see and understand, have a good eye; "The artist must first learn to see"
18 deliberate or decide; "See whether you can come tomorrow"; "let's see--which movie should we see tonight?"
19 observe as if with an eye; "The camera saw the burglary and recorded it"
20 observe, check out, and look over carefully or inspect; "The customs agent examined the baggage"; "I must see your passport before you can enter the country" [syn: examine]
21 go or live through; "We had many trials to go through"; "he saw action in Viet Nam" [syn: experience, undergo, go through]
22 accompany or escort; "I'll see you to the door" [syn: escort]
23 match or meet; "I saw the bet of one of my fellow players"
24 make sense of; assign a meaning to; "What message do you see in this letter?"; "How do you interpret his behavior?" [syn: interpret, construe] [also: seen, saw]saw See see [also: sawn]

User Contributed Dictionary

see SAW



Etymology 1

saga. Cognate with Dutch zaag.


  1. A tool with a toothed blade used for cutting hard substances, in particular wood or metal
  2. A musical saw.
musical saw See musical saw


  1. To cut (something) with a saw.
  2. To make a motion back and forth similar to cutting something with a saw.
    The fiddler sawed away at his instrument.
Related terms
cut with a saw
make a motion back and forth as with a saw

Etymology 2

sagu. Cognate with German Sage. Compare saga.


  1. (often old saw) A saying or proverb.
saying or proverb

Etymology 3

See see.


  1. simple past of see








Extensive Definition

This article is about the tool, for the films series see Saw (film series) A saw is a tool that uses a hard blade or wire with an abrasive edge to cut through softer materials. The cutting edge of a saw is either a serrated blade or an abrasive. A saw may be worked by hand, or powered by steam, water, electric or other power.
In a modern serrated saw, each tooth is bent to a precise angle called its "set". The set of the teeth is determined by the kind of cut the saw is intended to make. For example a "rip saw" has a tooth set that is similar to the angle used on a chisel. The idea is to have the teeth rip or tear the material apart. Some teeth are usually splayed slightly to each side the blade, so that the cut width (kerf) is wider than the blade itself and the blade does not bind in the cut.
An abrasive saw uses an abrasive disc or band for cutting, rather than a serrated blade.
According to Chinese tradition, the saw was invented by Lu Ban. In Greek mythology, Perdix, the nephew of Daedalos, invented the saw. Historically, however, saws date back to prehistory, and likely evolved from Neolithic tools or bone tools.

Saw terminology

  • Heel: The end closest to the handle.
  • Toe: The end farthest from the handle.
  • Front: The side with the teeth (the "bottom edge").
  • Back: Opposite the front ("top edge").
  • Teeth: Small sharp points along the cutting side of the saw.
  • Gullet: Valley between the points of the teeth
  • Fleam: The angle of the faces of the teeth relative to a line perpendicular to the face of the saw.
  • Rake: The angle of the front face of the tooth relative to a line perpendicular to the length of the saw. Teeth designed to cut with the grain (ripping) are generally steeper than teeth designed to cut across the grain (crosscutting)
  • Points per inch (25 mm): The most common measurement of the frequency of teeth on a saw blade. This is measured by setting the tip, or point, of one tooth at the zero point on a ruler, and then counting how many points are contained within one inch (25 mm) of length, counting inclusively. There will always be one more point per inch than there are teeth per inch (e.g., a saw with 14 points per inch will have 13 teeth per inch, a saw with 10 points per inch will have 9 teeth per inch). Some saws do not have the same number of teeth per inch throughout their entire length, but the vast majority do.
  • Teeth Per inch : Another common measurement of the amount of teeth residing in any one inch length of a saw blade. Usually abbreviated as TPI, eg a blade consisting of 18TPI (Teeth Per Inch).
  • Kerf: Width of the saw cut. On most saws the kerf is wider than the saw blade because the teeth are flared out sideways (set). This allows the blade to move through the cut easily without getting stuck (binding). However, some saws are made so that the teeth have no set on one side. This is done so that the saw can lie flat on a surface and cut along the surface without scratching it. These are referred to as flush cutting saws. The term kerf is often used to mean the width of the saw blade. However it is the width of the cut so it is the width of the blade plus any wobble created during cutting plus any material pulled out of the sides of the cut. This distinction can be extremely important. If you try to use a blade that is too thin you can get excessive wobble and actually get a wider kerf.

Types of saw blades and the cuts they make

Blade teeth are of two general types: Tool steel or carbide. Carbide is harder and holds a sharp edge much longer. ;Rip cut: In woodworking, a cut made parallel to the direction of the grain of the workpiece. A rip saw is used to make this type of cut.;Dado blade: A special type of circular saw blade used for making wide grooved cuts in wood so the edge of another piece of wood will fit into the groove to make a joint. Dado blades can make different width grooves by addition or removal of chipper blades of various widths between the outer dado blades. This first type is called a stacked dado blade. There is another type of dado blade capable of cutting variable width grooves. An adjustable dado utilizes a moveable locking cam mechanism which causes the blade to wobble sideways more or less. This allows continuously variable groove width from the lower to upper design limits of the dado.

Materials used for saws

There are several materials used in saws, with each of its own specifications. ;Steel: Used in almost every existing kind of saw. Because steel is cheap, easy to shape, and very strong, it has the right properties for most kind of saws.


Handmade manufacture

Saws until at least the mid-19th century were made laborously by hand. Teeth were punched out individually, then "set" by striking alternate teeth with a hammer against a "stake" or small anvil. Due to risk of breaking teeth, beginners were given saw-set pliers which set even more slowly.

Pit Saw

In early English North America the pit saw was one of the principal industrial tools that made the mercantilist system successful. It was (generally) operated over a pit across which the logs to be cut into boards were mounted. The saw was "a strong steel cutting-plate, of great breadth, with large teeth, highly polished and thoroughly wrought, some eight or ten feet in length" (Upham Hist. of Salem v1, p 191) with a handle on either end. The pit saw took at least 2 men to operate. One stood in the pit - the pitman, who was responsible for raising the saw on the backstroke - and the other was above - the sawyer, responsible for guiding the cut. The workers at a pit saw were some of the best paid in early colonial North America.
The pit saw is also known as a whipsaw.


  • Saws are most commonly used for cutting hard materials. They are used extensively in forestry, construction, demolition, medicine, and hunting.
  • Some saws are used to make music.
  • Chainsaw carving is a flourishing modern art form. Special saws have been developed for this purpose.

Saws in nature

  • Teeth or similar mouthparts are used by many creatures to cut their food.
  • Sawgrass is an example of a plant that use serrated leaves as a defense mechanism.
  • The sawfish has a sawlike snout that is, however, not used as a saw.
Serration is also found on leaf edges.


saw in Arabic: منشار
saw in Catalan: Serra (eina)
saw in Czech: Pila
saw in Danish: Sav
saw in German: Säge
saw in Estonian: Saag
saw in Spanish: Sierra (herramienta)
saw in Esperanto: Segilo
saw in Persian: اره
saw in French: Scie
saw in Ido: Segilo
saw in Indonesian: Gergaji
saw in Icelandic: Sög
saw in Italian: Sega (strumento)
saw in Hebrew: מסור
saw in Javanese: Piła
saw in Pampanga: Lagari
saw in Lithuanian: Pjūklas
saw in Dutch: Zaag
saw in Japanese: 鋸
saw in Norwegian: Sag
saw in Norwegian Nynorsk: Sag
saw in Polish: Piła
saw in Portuguese: Serrote
saw in Russian: Пила
saw in Simple English: Saw
saw in Slovak: Piła
saw in Finnish: Saha
saw in Swedish: Såg
saw in Yiddish: זעג
saw in Chinese: 鋸

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Vandyke edge, adage, amputate, ana, analects, aphorism, apothegm, ax, axiom, backsaw, band saw, belt saw, bisect, bow, bow saw, bucksaw, butcher, buzz saw, byword, carve, catchword, chain saw, chop, circular saw, cleave, cockscomb, collected sayings, compass saw, coping saw, cordwood saw, crenation, crenelation, crenulation, crest, crosscut saw, current saying, cut, cut away, cut in two, cut off, deckle edge, denticulation, dentil, dentil band, diamond saw, dichotomize, dictate, dictum, dissever, distich, dogtooth, double-cut saw, dovetail saw, epigram, excise, expression, fiddle, fissure, frame saw, fretsaw, gash, gnome, golden saying, hack, hacksaw, halve, handsaw, helicoidal saw, hew, incise, jigsaw, keyhole saw, lance, maxim, meat saw, mill saw, moral, mot, motto, notching, oracle, panel saw, pare, phrase, pit saw, pithy saying, play violin, portable saw, power saw, precept, prescript, proverb, proverbial saying, proverbs, prune, pruning saw, rend, rickrack, ripsaw, rive, rock saw, saw knife, saw machine, saw teeth, saying, scallop, scissor, scrape, scribe saw, scroll saw, sentence, sententious expression, serration, sever, slash, slice, slit, sloka, snip, split, splitsaw, stock saying, sunder, sutra, table saw, teaching, tear, text, two-handed saw, verse, vertical saw, whipsaw, whittle, wire saw, wisdom, wisdom literature, wise saying, witticism, wood saw, word, words of wisdom
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