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Withy is a word with several synonyms. In its broadest use, it is simply another word for "willow," but it can also be used for a particular category of willows which are also known by the name "osier." Additionally, the word withe can be substituted for the "flexible slender twig or branch" sense of "withy." "Osier" entered English from Anglo-French in the 14th century, whereas "willow," "withy," and "withe" all have their origins in Old English. "Willow" comes from the Old English "welig," a word that can be found in writing going back to the middle of the 8th century, and "withy" and "withe" come from "wīthig," a word that is known to have been used at least as far back as the 10th century.
Origin of withy
Middle English, from Old English wīthig; akin to Old High German wīda willow, Latin vitis vine, viēre to plait — more at wire
First Known Use: before 12th century
Rhymes with withy
Definition of withy
: flexibly tough
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