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From Old English wriþa (bandage), from Proto-West Germanic *wrīþan (to twist), from Proto-Germanic *wrīþaną, from Proto-Indo-European *wreyt- (to twist).

English Wikipedia has an article on:

See also writhe.

A wreath
A wreath, or torse, in argent (silver) and gules (red) lies between the top of the helmet, under the eagle.


  • enPR: rēth, IPA(key): /ɹiːθ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːθ


wreath (plural wreaths)

  1. Something twisted, intertwined, or curled.
    a wreath of smoke;  a wreath of clouds
    • 1892, James Yoxall, chapter 5, in The Lonely Pyramid: A Tale of Adventures, being the Strange Experiences of Roy LeFevre in the Desert during the Year 1884, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin: Blackie and Son, →OCLC:
      The desert storm was riding in its strength; the travellers lay beneath the mastery of the fell simoom. Whirling wreaths and columns of burning wind, rushed around and over them.
  2. An ornamental circular band made, for example, of plaited flowers and leaves, and used as decoration; a garland or chaplet, especially one given to a victor.
    • 1913, Joseph Crosby Lincoln, chapter 12, in Mr. Pratt's Patients, New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt, →OCLC:
      So, after a spell, he decided to make the best of it and shoved us into the front parlor. 'Twas a dismal sort of place, with hair wreaths, and wax fruit, and tin lambrekins, and land knows what all.
  3. (heraldry) An appendage to the shield, placed above it, and supporting the crest; an orle, a torse. It generally represents a twist of two cords of silk, one tinctured like the principal metal, the other like the principal color in the coat of arms.
    Synonyms: orle, torse
  4. A defect in glass.

Derived terms[edit]



wreath (third-person singular simple present wreaths, present participle wreathing, simple past and past participle wreathed)

  1. (transitive) To place an entwined circle of flowers upon or around something.
    • 1958, The Greek Anthology, page 349:
      Old Nico wreathed the tomb of maiden Melitê.
  2. (transitive) To wrap around something in a circle.
    At the funeral, a circle of comrades wreathed the grave of the honored deceased.
  3. (intransitive) To curl, writhe or spiral in the form of a wreath.
    • 1816, Lord Byron, Stanzas for Music[1], section 4:
      Though wit may flash from fluent lips, and mirth distract the breast,
      Through midnight hours that yield no more their former hope of rest;
      ’Tis but as ivy-leaves around the ruined turret wreath
      All green and wildly fresh without, but worn and grey beneath.


Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “wreath”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)

See also[edit]