reed

1 of 6

noun

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
reedlike adjective

Illustration of reed

Illustration of reed
  • reed 6a

reed

2 of 6

verb

reeded; reeding; reeds

Reed

3 of 6

biographical name (1)

John 1887–1920 American journalist, poet, and Communist

Reed

4 of 6

biographical name (2)

Stanley Forman 1884–1980 American jurist

Reed

5 of 6

biographical name (3)

Thomas Brackett 1839–1902 American politician

Reed

6 of 6

biographical name (4)

Walter 1851–1902 American army surgeon

Example Sentences

Noun the reeds along the edge of a pond the reed section of the orchestra
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Show off the influx of season's greetings on a vintage tobacco basket by tucking well wishes into the overlapping strips of reed. Chloe Gorman, Country Living, 19 Oct. 2022 All that remained of the reed houses where Urga’s residents used to live were a few combs of stems projecting from the sand. Henry Wismayer, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Aug. 2022 This stylish reed diffuser emits a calming lavender scent for at least three months straight with no flames in sight. Cailey Lindberg, Good Housekeeping, 13 Oct. 2022 Considering the fact that hoards of reed diffusers and room sprays land on our desks on a daily basis, the Allure team has definitely learned a thing or two about sniffing out the best scents. Jennifer Hussein, Allure, 13 Oct. 2022 There are currently five different candle scents, and one scent for both the reed diffuser and room spray. Megan Stein, Peoplemag, 20 Sep. 2022 All that remained of the reed houses where Urga’s residents used to live were a few combs of stems projecting from the sand. Henry Wismayer, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Aug. 2022 All that remained of the reed houses where Urga’s residents used to live were a few combs of stems projecting from the sand. Henry Wismayer, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Aug. 2022 Elk callers use a diaphragm reed along with a bugle tube to replicate the noises. oregonlive, 15 Sep. 2022
Verb
Their monthly candle and reed diffuser subscription is sure to make any candle-lover swoon. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, 11 Nov. 2022 Crest's ultra-popular teeth whitening kits are on sale too, plus anti-aging face serums from SkinMedica, reed diffusers from Nest, and R+Co’s cult-favorite hair products. Sarah Madaus, SELF, 11 Oct. 2022 The Real Housewives of Potomac star, professor and philanthropist launched Onyi Home Essentials on Monday — a collection of candles, reed diffusers and room sprays designed to bring a little luxury to the everyday. Megan Stein, Peoplemag, 20 Sep. 2022 Drummer Ryan Bennett, Milwaukee bassist Jeff Hamann and reed player Jesse Montijo rounded out the sympathetic band. Jim Higgins, Journal Sentinel, 12 Sep. 2022 Drinking water is from the desalination plant, rainwater is collected, and wastewater is cleaned via a series of aerobic, non-aerobic, UV, pond, and reed bed systems. Johanna Read, Forbes, 20 June 2022 The keyboard has reed switches, which use magnets to actuate. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 3 Dec. 2021 Thorne was 22 of 31 for 287 yards with a 51-yard touchdown pass to Montorie Foster and a 29-yard pass to Jayden reed for a score in the first quarter. Raul Dominguez, BostonGlobe.com, 13 Nov. 2021 Lisa starts berating Chris, who appears on the verge of passing out from the one-two punch of wearing a three-piece suit under hot lights and huffing that box-fresh vanilla reed diffuser straight from the source. Olivia Crandall, Vulture, 4 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

1951, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near reed

Cite this Entry

“Reed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reed. Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

reed

noun

ˈrēd
1
a
: any of various tall slender grasses of wet areas that have stems with large joints
b
: a stem of such a grass
c
: a growth or mass of reeds
2
: a musical instrument made of the hollow joint of a plant
3
: a thin flexible strip (as of cane, wood, metal, or plastic) fastened at one end to the mouthpiece of a musical instrument (as a clarinet) or over an air opening (as in an accordion) and set in vibration by an air current (as the breath)

More from Merriam-Webster on reed

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