wil·​low ˈwi-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce willow (audio)
: any of a genus (Salix of the family Salicaceae, the willow family) of trees and shrubs bearing catkins of apetalous flowers and including forms of value for wood, osiers, or tanbark and a few ornamentals
: an object made of willow wood
especially : a cricket bat
willowlike adjective

Examples of willow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Out of the willows burst a snowshoe rabbit, going like the wind. Outdoor Life, 23 Nov. 2023 During the four-year project, the tribe will remove invasive species and replant 45,000 native trees, like cottonwood, willow and mesquite to restore 390 acres of the river's historic floodplain close to the U.S.-Mexico border. The Arizona Republic, 21 Mar. 2024 In addition, drought conditions have weakened fast-growing trees such as sugar maples, box elders, willows which are most prone to losing limbs, Megna said. Karl Ebert, Journal Sentinel, 20 Mar. 2024 Then the arms and legs bud out like willow catkins and the spine begins to straighten. Lori Vogt Rosone, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2024 Allergenic trees include alder, birch, cedar, horse chestnut, oak poplar and willow. Ray Padilla, The Courier-Journal, 29 Feb. 2024 Over the past decade, the cottonwoods and willows that were planted have grown into a forest that teems with wildlife. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 20 Feb. 2024 The researchers assessed riparian habitat to study the impacts of elk browsing on willow growth in northern parts of Yellowstone. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 15 Feb. 2024 Cleland worked with Anderson Landscaping to add more than a dozen ‘Blue Ice’ Arizona cypresses, desert willows, manzanita ‘Dr Hurd’, mountain mahogany, pink and white oleanders, and New Mexican desert olive in addition to three purpleleaf plum trees. Kristin Guy, Sunset Magazine, 30 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


Middle English wilghe, wilowe, from Old English welig; akin to Middle High German wilge willow

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near willow

Cite this Entry

“Willow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/willow. Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


wil·​low ˈwil-ō How to pronounce willow (audio)
: any of a genus of trees and shrubs that often have narrow leaves, produce catkins for flowers, and include some used for their wood, for making baskets, or as ornamentals
willowlike adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on willow

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