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 At low tides, sandpipers and willets are common on the mudflats. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, 30 Jan. 2020 Ten least sandpipers, 34 semipalmated sandpipers, a willet, and two lesser and 10 greater yellowlegs were also seen. BostonGlobe.com, 29 July 2019 Males and females have similar plumage, but female willets are slightly larger. San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 July 2019 Depending on the time of the year, willets can display quite different color patterns. San Diego Union-Tribune, 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, 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

Dictionary Entries Near willet

Willesden process



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for willet

Cite this Entry

“Willet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/willet. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on willet

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about willet


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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