reed

1 of 2

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 2

verb

reeded; reeding; reeds

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
Fishing was a labor-intensive process of weaving baskets from reeds and laying them in the water to trap fish in the current. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Apr. 2024 Act 2 begins by spotlighting each band member during a satisfying instrumental medley of the show’s score, offering the bass, drums, reeds and brass players a chance to stretch out and solo. Christopher Smith, Orange County Register, 29 Jan. 2024 The elephants eventually ambled away into the bush and then the guides pushed us, gondola-style, into knee-deep, three-foot-wide channels lined by Papyrus reeds. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, 28 Feb. 2024 In 2022, one incident that began with a stray spark destroyed more than 25 acres of reeds. Tim Brinkhof, Discover Magazine, 12 Nov. 2023 Cuneiform, in which characters are pressed into tablets using cut triangular reeds, was invented around 3200 BC. Mindy Weisberger, CNN, 13 Feb. 2024 Fulvous nests can usually be found among tall reeds, cattails, and other brush. M.d. Johnson, Field & Stream, 10 Jan. 2024 Pristine, the maker of this reed diffuser set, can actually make my home smell like four different five-star properties from around the world. Katie Jackson, Travel + Leisure, 12 Feb. 2024 The derelict houses of Mysterium Way were each missing something important—one lacked walls; another, a roof; another was just a mailbox nestled amongst a bushel of reeds. Lizz Schumer, Peoplemag, 12 Feb. 2024
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

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

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 12 Apr. 2024.

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)

Biographical Definition

Reed 1 of 4

biographical name (1)

John 1887–1920 American journalist, poet, and Communist

Reed

2 of 4

biographical name (2)

Stanley Forman 1884–1980 American jurist

Reed

3 of 4

biographical name (3)

Thomas Brackett 1839–1902 American politician

Reed

4 of 4

biographical name (4)

Walter 1851–1902 American army surgeon

More from Merriam-Webster on reed

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