wil·​low | \ ˈwi-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce willow (audio) \

Definition of willow

1 : 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
2 : an object made of willow wood especially : a cricket bat

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Other Words from willow

willowlike \ ˈwi-​lō-​ˌlīk How to pronounce willowlike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of willow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Colorado College State of the Rockies project specialist Cyndy Hines pointed to cottonwood trees, box elders, willows and rare flowers. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "A run through Colorado’s Yampa whitewater reveals the wildness that remains. But will the West’s rivers survive urban demands?," 23 June 2019 Here along the rolling hills west of Santa Barbara, where willows line the creek and cattle roam free, the verdant land unfurls to reveal a rugged coastline largely unspoiled by man. San Diego Union-Tribune, "A look behind the Hollister Ranch gates. Will the public ever access these exclusive beaches?," 12 Apr. 2019 Whether the topic is picking old locks or smelting or gathering basket willow, history YouTube comments sections are wholesome places, full of follow-up questions and people marveling at how soothing the video is. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "Spiff Up Your Real-World Skills With Old Timey YouTube," 25 June 2019 The water runs fast, flashing between banks of oak and willow, cottonwood and box elder and hackberry, and intricate wild-haired tapestries of fern. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "Ramblin’ Man," 24 June 2019 To the east, miles in the distance, lays a broad valley, and within it a streak of dark green—the willows and cottonwoods of Cienega Creek, which flows all year. Douglas Main, National Geographic, "In a land of wild cats and scarce water, a battle over mining heats up," 25 Apr. 2019 Oaks are the number one choice, followed by willow, cherry, birch, crabapple, maple, pine, hickory, hawthorn and spruce, in descending order. Ellen Nibali, baltimoresun.com, "What other native trees should I plant?," 13 June 2019 Unlike other catkin-bearing trees, willows are not wind-pollinated. Dave Taft, New York Times, "Spring Arrives on Kitten’s Paws," 4 Apr. 2018 Terms to describe the natural world—such as acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, otter, raven and willow—have been banished to make room for such chilly contemporary words as blog, broadband and bullet-point. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "What to Give: Children’s Books," 15 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of willow

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

History and Etymology for willow

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

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Statistics for willow

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for willow

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

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More Definitions for willow



English Language Learners Definition of willow

: a tree that has long, narrow leaves and strong, thin branches that are used to make baskets


wil·​low | \ ˈwi-lō How to pronounce willow (audio) \

Kids Definition of willow

: a tree or bush with narrow leaves, catkins for flowers, and tough flexible stems sometimes used in making baskets

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More from Merriam-Webster on willow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with willow

Spanish Central: Translation of willow

Nglish: Translation of willow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of willow for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about willow

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