Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Harvest and Yield


What is the difference between the words ‘harvest’ and ‘yield’? Both words are similar in meaning and usage when relating to crops and farming, and both can be used as a noun or a verb. The difference in the two words is important to note when deciding which word to use in a sentence.

The word ‘harvest’ is used as a noun to mean a particular time or season when crops are gathered from a field. For example, one could say “It is the harvest time for pumpkins in the fall”. ‘Harvest’ also means the particular amount of crops that are gathered, as in the harvest of pumpkins this year was plentiful. ‘Harvest’ can also be used as a verb. It means the action of gathering the crop. “We need to harvest the pumpkins now because they are ripe”, is a good example.

‘Yield’ when compared with ‘harvest’ has a more general sense about it. It too can be used as a noun to mean the amount of crops produced, although it is worth noting that ‘harvest’ means not just the amount or product produced by a farm, but more specifically what was gathered in. A farmer could say, “My pumpkin farm yields over 1000 pounds of pumpkins every year, but we can only harvest about 800 pounds of them.” ‘Yield’ goes beyond farming, as well to mean any type of profit, especially financial. For example it is common to say “The yield on this investment is currently 3%”.

When ‘yield’ is used as a verb, it has a more diverse usage. It can mean to produce something, such as a crop on a farm, as in: The field yielded a large pumpkin harvest. In this example, it is used with the word ‘harvest’ being used as a noun, with ‘yield’ as a verb relating to farming and crop production. Once again though, ‘yield’ is not limited to production in farming, like ‘harvest’ is. It could be said “Their efforts yielded results in the scientific study.” or “The financial yield was great from the investment”. ‘Yield’ can be used to mean the action of production in general.

‘Yield’ can also be used as a verb and have an entirely different meaning. ‘To yield’ conveys the meaning of agreeing to something or no longer resisting or opposing something. An example is: The other side finally yielded and we reached an agreement. Along the same lines, it can mean to give up control and allow someone else to take control of something as in the sense of surrendering or giving up. For example a person might say, “I refuse to yield and let you take over”. Related to this meaning is when allowing another car or person to go ahead of you while driving. There are traffic laws that tell drivers when they must yield, or let others go first in an intersection. This is related to the meaning of allowing someone else control, but is a separate usage relating specifically to driving and traffic laws. ‘Yield’ can go even further to mean to give in or break altogether in a physical sense, such as: The leash yielded when the dog pulled away. It is worth noting too, that in a formal sense there is a usage of this definition of ‘yield’ that means to let someone else speak during a public speaking session, as in a politician may say “I am now going to yield to the Mayor” when it is the Mayor’s turn to speak.

So it can be seen that ‘harvest’ and ‘yield’ do have some similarities when used in connection with farming, ‘yield’ has a much broader and diverse usage .

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