reed

noun
\ ˈrēd How to pronounce reed (audio) \

Definition of reed

 (Entry 1 of 6)

1a : 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
6a : 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

reed

verb
reeded; reeding; reeds

Definition of reed (Entry 2 of 6)

Reed

biographical name (1)
\ ˈrēd How to pronounce Reed (audio) \

Definition of Reed (Entry 3 of 6)

John 1887–1920 American journalist, poet, and Communist

Reed

biographical name (2)

Definition of Reed (Entry 4 of 6)

Stanley Forman 1884–1980 American jurist

Reed

biographical name (3)

Definition of Reed (Entry 5 of 6)

Thomas Brackett 1839–1902 American politician

Reed

biographical name (4)

Definition of Reed (Entry 6 of 6)

Walter 1851–1902 American army surgeon

Illustration of reed

Illustration of reed

Noun

reed 6a

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from reed

Noun

reedlike \ ˈrēd-​ˌlīk How to pronounce reedlike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for reed

Synonyms: Noun

doormat, jellyfish, namby-pamby, pushover, weakling, wimp

Antonyms: Noun

stalwart

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Examples of reed in a Sentence

Noun

the reeds along the edge of a pond the reed section of the orchestra

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Malnourished mothers cradling gaunt infants in reed-thin arms. Distressing scenes of hopeless poverty in Haiti, across the Caribbean, and in Latin America. Brian Macquarrie, BostonGlobe.com, "Leading hunger relief charity challenged on its claim of low costs," 2 June 2018 The two reed-playing Janes — Bunnett and Bloom — also made strong marks. Paul De Barros, The Seattle Times, "From Norah Jones to Dawn Clement, women shone at Monterey Jazz Festival 2018," 24 Sep. 2018 Smelling of evergreen, berries and spice, this long-lasting fragrance set diffuses the oil through natural reeds and looks beautiful at the same time, thanks to the berries and decorative green ribbon — and without the worry of an open flame. Erin Nicole Celletti, Teen Vogue, "9 Holiday Decor Items Under $50," 3 Dec. 2018 Legend claims that this ancient Jewish congregation was founded at the spot where baby Moses in a basket was fished from the reeds of the Nile. Leslie Camhi, ELLE Decor, "Inside the World's Most Beautiful Synagogues," 5 Nov. 2018 The tiny invaders have an insatiable hunger for roseau cane, a tall and hardy reed that binds together some of Louisiana's most delicate stretches of coastline. Jennifer Larino, NOLA.com, "Army Corps starting levee patrols as Mississippi River rises," 26 Feb. 2018 Originally, fishermen and farmers used reed baskets to transport goods to markets or orchards. Minna Shim, Harper's BAZAAR, "These Chic Bags Come with a Touch of Magic," 8 July 2017 The roof was made of a plaited reed mat, thatched with wheat stalks set aside from the autumn harvest. Lu Yang, The New Yorker, "Silver Tiger," 4 June 2017 The process starts with a careful selection of reed sticks, which grow along the water. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Heimat Atlantica Offers a Collection of Basket Bags That Stand Out Among the Rest," 26 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Heat could offer Reed its $4.3 mid-level room exception. Manny Navarro, miamiherald, "Willie Reed tells Heat he’s opting out, testing free agency," 1 June 2017 SOMEWHERE ON the coastal road between the Sicilian towns of Marzamemi and Siracusa, from behind the wheel, our guide pointed out the giant reeds growing above the Ionian sea. Charlotte Druckman, WSJ, "Sicily’s Superior Cannoli: A Guide for Connoisseurs—and Skeptics," 28 Jan. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of reed

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1951, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for reed

Noun

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

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Dictionary Entries near reed

reech

reecho

reechy

reed

Reed

reed-back

reedbed

Statistics for reed

Last Updated

3 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reed

The first known use of reed was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for reed

reed

noun

English Language Learners Definition of reed

: 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

noun
\ ˈrēd How to pronounce reed (audio) \

Kids Definition of reed

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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More from Merriam-Webster on reed

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reed

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reed

Spanish Central: Translation of reed

Nglish: Translation of reed for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reed for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about reed

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