withy

noun
\ ˈwi-t͟hē \
plural withies

Definition of withy 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : willow especially : osier sense 1

2 : a flexible slender twig or branch (as of osier) : withe

withy

adjective
\ ˈwi-thē , ˈwi-t͟hē , ˈwī-t͟hē \

Definition of withy (Entry 2 of 2)

: flexibly tough

The Origin of withy

Noun

Withy is a word with several synonyms. In its broadest use, it is simply another word for "willow," but it can also be used for a particular category of willows which are also known by the name osier. Additionally, the word withe can be substituted for the "flexible slender twig or branch" sense of withy. Osier entered English from medieval French, whereas willow, withy, and withe all have their origins in Old English. Willow comes from welig; withy comes from wīthig; and withe comes from withthe, a word indirectly related to wīthig.

First Known Use of withy

Noun

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

Adjective

1598, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for withy

Noun

Middle English, from Old English wīthig; akin to Old High German wīda willow, Latin vitis vine, viēre to plait — more at wire

Adjective

withe

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about withy

Listen to Our Podcast about withy

Statistics for withy

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for withy

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

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on withy

See words that rhyme with withy

Comments on withy

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a magnificent or impressive array

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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