willow

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English[edit]

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A weeping willow, a commonly seen willow cultivar.

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English wilwe, welew, variant of wilghe, from Old English weliġ, from Proto-Germanic *wiligaz (compare West Frisian wylch, Dutch wilg), from Proto-Indo-European *wel-ik- (compare (Arcadian) Ancient Greek ἑλίκη (helíkē), Hittite 𒌑𒂖𒆪 (welku, grass)), from *wel- (twist, turn).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

willow (countable and uncountable, plural willows)

  1. Any of various deciduous trees or shrubs in the genus Salix, in the willow family Salicaceae, found primarily on moist soils in cooler zones in the northern hemisphere.
  2. (cricket, colloquial) A cricket bat.
  3. (baseball, slang, 1800s) The baseball bat.
  4. A rotating spiked drum used to open and clean cotton heads.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

willow (third-person singular simple present willows, present participle willowing, simple past and past participle willowed)

  1. (transitive) To open and cleanse (cotton, flax, wool, etc.) by means of a willow.
  2. (intransitive) To form a shape or move in a way similar to the long, slender branches of a willow.
    • 1928, Robert Byron, The Station: Travels to the Holy Mountain of Greece, Chapter 12,[1]
      Willowing over the rough cobbles of the little pier stepped a thin, bent figure, adorned with a silver nannygoat’s beard and bobbling eyes interrupted by the rim of a pair of pince-nez.
    • 1930, Talbot Mundy, Black Light, Chapter 7,[2]
      Joe’s impulse was to sketch her, with her shadow willowing beyond her on the mouse-gray paving-stone; but his left fist, obeying instinct, remained clenched behind his back []
    • 1985, Martin Booth, Hiroshima Joe, New York: Picador, p. 394,[3]
      It was floating a foot under the surface. The eyes were holes. The mouth was a slit cavern of darkness. The hair willowed around the scalp.
    • 2013, Dean Koontz, Wilderness, Bantam Books,[4]
      The draft-drawn smoke willowed down through the hole and across my face, but I didn’t worry about coughing or sneezing.