\ 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 As teen-agers, my brother and I lost at least half a dozen French and German exchange students within the clipped evergreen walls of a small yew maze tucked into an odd triangle at the northern edge of the gardens of Hampton Court Palace. Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2021 Its yew trees, themselves a replacement for the original hornbeam, are threadbare in places where eager visitors have brushed up against them. Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2021 Tucked behind a yew hedge, this enchanting English-style rose garden is a beautiful and quiet oasis in bustling Boston., 11 June 2021 Most of us picture formal estates dotted with giant animals shaped from boxwood or yew. Norman Vanamee, Town & Country, 12 May 2021 Propagating yew trees from cuttings is very feasible. oregonlive, 28 Feb. 2021 Robin Hood of English legend was armed with a stout yew bow. Beth Botts,, 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, 25 Apr. 2020 Common woods used included arbutus, bog oak and yew. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, 12 Mar. 2020 See More

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.

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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Cite this Entry

“Yew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for 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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