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reed

noun \ ˈrēd \
|Updated on: 7 Aug 2018

Definition of reed

1 a : any of various tall grasses with slender often prominently jointed stems that grow especially in wet areas
b : a stem of a reed
c : a person or thing too weak to rely on : one easily swayed or overcome
2 : a growth or mass of reeds; specifically : reeds for thatching
3 : arrow
4 : a wind instrument made from the hollow joint of a plant
5 : an ancient Hebrew unit of length equal to six cubits
6 a : a thin elastic tongue (as of cane, wood, metal, or plastic) fastened at one end over an air opening in a wind instrument (such as a clarinet, organ pipe, or accordion) and set in vibration by an air current
b : a woodwind instrument that produces sound by the vibrating of a reed against the mouthpiece
  • the reeds of an orchestra
7 : a device on a loom resembling a comb and used to space warp yarns evenly
8 : reeding 1a

reedlike

play \ˈrēd-ˌlīk\ adjective

Examples of reed in a Sentence

  1. the reeds along the edge of a pond

  2. the reed section of the orchestra

Recent Examples of reed from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reed.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Illustration of reed

illustration of reed

Origin and Etymology of reed

Middle English rede, from Old English hrēod; akin to Old High German hriot reed


2

reed

verb

Definition of reed

reeded; reeding; reeds
: mill 2

Recent Examples of reed from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reed.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of reed

1951

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

Reed

biographical name \ ˈrēd \

Definition of Reed

John 1887–1920 American journalist, poet, and Communist

Reed

biographical name

Definition of Reed

Stanley Forman 1884–1980 American jurist

Reed

biographical name

Definition of Reed

Thomas Brackett 1839–1902 American politician

Reed

biographical name

Definition of Reed

Walter 1851–1902 American army surgeon

REED Defined for English Language Learners

reed

Definition of reed for English Language Learners

  • : a tall, thin grass that grows in wet areas

  • : a thin strip of wood, metal, or plastic inside some musical instruments (such as clarinets and oboes) that makes a sound when you blow over it

  • : a musical instrument that has a reed


REED Defined for Kids

reed

noun \ ˈrēd \

Definition of reed for Students

1 : a tall slender grass that grows in wet areas
2 : a stem or a growth or mass of reeds
3 : a thin flexible piece of cane, plastic, or metal fastened to the mouthpiece of an instrument (as a clarinet) or over an air opening in an instrument (as an accordion) and made to vibrate by an air current


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