1580, from Old English dialectal wiðer (“against”) + -s; see with. So-named because the part of the horse that pushes against a load. Compare German Widerrist (“withers”), from wider (“against”) + Rist (“wrist”).
withers (plural only)
- (veterinary medicine) The part of the back of a four-legged animal that is between the shoulder blades; in many species the highest point of the body and the standard place to measure the animal's height.
Although this noun refers to one object, there is no corresponding singular form *wither for this word, the singular form being obsolete.
- third-person singular simple present indicative form of wither