cat·​kin ˈkat-kən How to pronounce catkin (audio)
: a spicate inflorescence (as of the willow, birch, or oak) bearing scaly bracts and unisexual usually apetalous flowers

called also ament

Examples of catkin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Moose gorge, stripping catkins as the snows melt, using their flexible noses and lips to select new leaves. Krista Stevens, Longreads, 2 May 2024 Then the arms and legs bud out like willow catkins and the spine begins to straighten. Lori Vogt Rosone, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2024 These catkins form in the fall and winter, releasing pollen once the female flowers are ready. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 31 Aug. 2023 Those catkins release capsules of seed to the wind on parachutes of fluff. Ned Rozell | Alaska Science, Anchorage Daily News, 28 May 2023 What happens in the stream and beside it is tightly linked, Milner found: Willow catkins are food for caddis flies, and alder roots provide chironomids with safe homes. Lesley Evans Ogden, Discover Magazine, 7 Apr. 2023 The nearby city of Beijing issued a warning to citizens in April 2021 due to a large number of catkins blowing around the city, according to a Chinese newspaper. Eleanor McCrary, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2023 This is one-to-one, a real conversation, me and this catkin, me and this honey mesquite. Citizen Science Salon, Discover Magazine, 30 Mar. 2015 Pruning may help increase the size of catkins next year. oregonlive, 21 Sep. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'catkin.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from its resemblance to a cat's tail

First Known Use

1578, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of catkin was in 1578

Dictionary Entries Near catkin

Cite this Entry

“Catkin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


cat·​kin ˈkat-kən How to pronounce catkin (audio)
: a flower cluster (as of the willow or birch) in which the flowers grow in close circular rows along a slender stalk

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