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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Southwestern willow flycatcher protected along San Pedro river Usually smaller than six inches, this little bird plays a big role in controlling insect populations around wetlands and waterways. Jake Frederico, The Arizona Republic, 3 Mar. 2023 Through a blend of pomegranate enzymes, willow bark extract, pink clay, and other powerhouse botanicals, this mask promises to transform dull skin. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 22 Feb. 2023 Its Purifying Amethyst Shampoo is infused with amethyst extracts, along with ingredients like ginseng, willow bark and hibiscus to minimize scalp irritation. Harper's BAZAAR, 18 Feb. 2023 The work, namely noise from the helicopter, also can't interrupt the breeding season for the Mexican spotted owl, the southwestern willow flycatcher and other endangered species. CBS News, 17 Feb. 2023 White willow bark is thought to soothe the joint pain associated with osteoarthritis, while devil's claw is used to reduce pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Verywell Health, 14 Feb. 2023 Start with the Essentials Skin Care Travel Kit, which includes a face wash with energizing peppermint, a shaving gel made with willow bark and floral extracts, and a collagen moisturizer. Paris Wilson, Condé Nast Traveler, 6 Feb. 2023 Its effects are enhanced by the inclusion of white willow bark and caffeine, both of which have their own pain-relieving properties. Dallas News, 21 Dec. 2022 In response, some native birds — like the Southwestern willow flycatcher, which loves dense shrubs along desert waterways — turned to tamarisk trees to make their nests. Katherine Mast, Discover Magazine, 19 Mar. 2019 See More

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

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 25 Mar. 2023.

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

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