withy

noun
\ ˈwi-t͟hē How to pronounce withy (audio) \
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 How to pronounce withy (audio) , ˈwi-t͟hē How to pronounce withy (audio) , ˈwī-t͟hē How to pronounce withy (audio) \

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near withy

withwind

withy

withywind

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Cite this Entry

“Withy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/withy. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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