\ ˈyü How to pronounce yew (audio) \

Definition of yew

1a : any of a genus (Taxus of the family Taxaceae, the yew family) of evergreen gymnospermous trees and shrubs with stiff linear leaves and seeds surrounded by a fleshy red aril: such as
(1) : a long-lived Eurasian tree or shrub (T. baccata)

called also English yew

(2) : a low straggling bush (T. canadensis) of the eastern U.S. and Canada
(3) : pacific yew
b : the wood of a yew especially : the heavy fine-grained wood of the English yew
2 archaic : an archery bow made of yew

Illustration of yew

Illustration of yew

yew 1a

Examples of yew in a Sentence

a bow made of yew
Recent Examples on the Web Propagating yew trees from cuttings is very feasible. oregonlive, "Ask an expert: Owner hopes to propagate cuttings from fallen 200-year-old yew," 28 Feb. 2021 Robin Hood of English legend was armed with a stout yew bow. Beth Botts,, "Yew shrubs, hardy and attractive, are the stuff of ancient legends and a great addition to Midwest yards," 19 Dec. 2020 Natchez’ crepe myrtle and cedar tree in the center bed, adding a Japanese maple for screening and shade as well as low-lying spreading yews, lavender phlox, and lamb’s ears. Grace Haynes, Southern Living, "Peek Inside an Alabama Backyard Retreat Built for Embracing Nature," 25 Apr. 2020 Common woods used included arbutus, bog oak and yew. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, "Celebrating our Celtic influences: Yenke Peddler antiques," 12 Mar. 2020 The least toxic control is to spray the yews with a horticultural oil spray (Year Round Spray Oil, All Seasons Spray Oil and others) following label directions. Dan Gill,, "How to treat aphids on ornamental plants," 10 Mar. 2018 While bushwhacking through hellish yew thickets, the sling kept twisting and finally unscrewed the swivel stud. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "Building the Ultimate Open-Country Hunting Rifle," 14 Feb. 2020 Thanks to her German origin, Victoria's mother had brought in yew trees for the holidays, but Victoria and Albert really made the trend catch on in 1848. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Royal Family Went All-Out on Christmas Decorations for Windsor Castle," 2 Dec. 2019 The yew actually doesn’t look like one single tree. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "U.K.’s Oldest Tree Is Being Besieged by Tourists," 21 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'yew.' 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 yew

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

History and Etymology for yew

Middle English ew, from Old English īw; akin to Old High German īwa yew, Middle Irish

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Time Traveler for yew

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for yew

Last Updated

13 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Yew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for yew



English Language Learners Definition of yew

: an evergreen tree or bush with stiff needles and small red berries
: the wood of a yew


\ ˈyü How to pronounce yew (audio) \

Kids Definition of yew

: a tree or shrub with stiff needlelike evergreen leaves and seeds having a red juicy covering


\ ˈyü How to pronounce yew (audio) \

Medical Definition of yew

: any of a genus (Taxus of the family Taxaceae, the yew family) of evergreen trees and shrubs with stiff linear leaves and seeds surrounded by a fleshy red aril especially : one (T. brevifolia) of the Pacific coast of the United States and Canada whose bark yields the antineoplastic drug paclitaxel

More from Merriam-Webster on yew

Nglish: Translation of yew for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about yew

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