wil·​let | \ ˈwi-lət How to pronounce willet (audio) \
plural willets also willet

Definition of willet

: a large American shorebird (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus) of the sandpiper family that resembles the greater yellowlegs but has a thicker bill and gray legs and that displays a black-and-white wing pattern when in flight

Examples of willet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Males and females have similar plumage, but female willets are slightly larger. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Willets right at home along San Diego shorelines," 18 July 2019 Depending on the time of the year, willets can display quite different color patterns. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Willets right at home along San Diego shorelines," 18 July 2019 Willets Point United, a group composed mainly of the auto body shop owners who have long plied their trade on Willets’s rutted streets, celebrated the decision. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "Ruling May Be Death Knell for $3 Billion Queens Development," 6 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of willet

1791, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for willet


Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about willet

Statistics for willet

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for willet

The first known use of willet was in 1791

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on willet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with willet

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about willet

Comments on willet

What made you want to look up willet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not constant or steady

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!