From Middle English ew, from Old English īw, ēow, from Proto-Germanic *īwaz, *īhwaz (compare Icelandic ýr), masculine variant of *īwō (compare Dutch ijf, German Eibe), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁eiH-u̯eh₂ (compare Hittite [script?] (eja, “type of evergreen”), Welsh yw (“yews”), Lithuanian ievà (“bird cherry”), Russian ива (íva, “willow”)).
- enPR: yo͞o, IPA(key): /juː/
- Rhymes: -uː
- Homophones: ewe, u, you, hew (in h-dropping dialects), hue (in h-dropping dialects)
- (countable) A species of coniferous tree, Taxus baccata, with dark-green flat needle-like leaves and seeds bearing red arils, native to western, central and southern Europe, northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Asia.
- (countable, by extension) Any tree or shrub of the genus Taxus.
- (uncountable) The wood of the yew.
1786, Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons, page 37:
- To prevent a too great consumption of yew, bowyers were directed to make four bows of witch-hazel, ash or elm, to one of yew, and no person under seventeen years of age, unless possessed of moveables worth forty marks, of the son of parents having an estate of ten pounds per annum might shoot in an yew bow, under a penalty of 6s. 8d.
- A bow for archery, made of yew wood.
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yew (not comparable)
- Made from the wood of the yew tree.
- ^ Marlies Philippa et al., eds., Etymologisch Woordenboek van het Nederlands, A-Z, s.v. “ijf” (Amsterdam UP, 3 Dec. 2009): <http://www.etymologie.nl>.