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willow

[wil-oh] /ˈwɪl oʊ/
noun
1.
any tree or shrub of the genus Salix, characterized by narrow, lance-shaped leaves and dense catkins bearing small flowers, many species having tough, pliable twigs or branches used for wickerwork, etc.
Compare willow family.
2.
the wood of any of these trees.
3.
Informal. something, especially a cricket bat, made of willow wood.
4.
Also called willower, willy. a machine consisting essentially of a cylinder armed with spikes revolving within a spiked casing, for opening and cleaning cotton or other fiber.
verb (used with object)
5.
to treat (textile fibers) with a willow.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English wilwe, variant of wilghe, Old English welig; cognate with Old Saxon wilgia, Dutch wilg, Low German wilge
Related forms
willowlike, adjective
willowish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for willows
  • We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
  • Grow water-tolerant plants such as shrub willows in the basin.
  • Sedges and willows were taking it over from the outside in, and the remnants of the old lodge made a mound in what was now meadow.
  • Before and below him a river meanders lazily between birches and willows.
  • But to our astonishment, she lingers a few moments before turning without haste into the willows.
  • On the valley side the water is lined with trees-willows fresh and green with every spring.
  • We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
  • We stop at a crook in the creek where the waters slow and eddy, and where a stand of willows shades the bank scenically.
  • The plants in shrubby swamps may vary, but include willows and buttonbush.
  • Breeding: stunted boreal bogs and in open country near tree line, especially in willows and alders.
British Dictionary definitions for willows

willow

/ˈwɪləʊ/
noun
1.
any of numerous salicaceous trees and shrubs of the genus Salix, such as the weeping willow and osiers of N temperate regions, which have graceful flexible branches, flowers in catkins, and feathery seeds
2.
the whitish wood of certain of these trees
3.
something made of willow wood, such as a cricket or baseball bat
4.
a machine having a system of revolving spikes for opening and cleaning raw textile fibres
Derived Forms
willowish, willow-like, adjective
Word Origin
Old English welig; related to wilige wicker basket, Old Saxon wilgia, Middle High German wilge, Greek helikē willow, helix twisted

Willow

noun
1.
a small town in S Alaska, about 113 km (70 miles) northwest of Anchorage: chosen as the site of the projected new state capital in 1976, a plan which never came to fruition. Pop: 1658 (2000)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for willows

willow

n.

Old English welig, from Proto-Germanic *walg- (cf. Old Saxon wilgia, Middle Dutch wilghe, Dutch wilg), probably from PIE *wel- "to turn, roll," with derivatives referring to curved, enclosing objects. The change in form to -ow (14c.) paralleled that of bellow and fellow. The more typical Germanic word for the tree is represented by withy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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willows in the Bible

(1.) Heb. 'arabim (Lev. 23:40; Job 40:22; Isa. 15:7; 44:3, 4; Ps. 137:1, 2). This was supposed to be the weeping willow, called by Linnaeus Salix Babylonica, from the reference in Ps. 137. This tree is frequently found "on the coast, overhanging wells and pools. There is a conspicuous tree of this species over a pond in the plain of Acre, and others on the Phoenician plain." There are several species of the salix in Palestine, but it is not indigenous to Babylonia, nor was it cultivated there. Some are of opinion that the tree intended is the tamarisk or poplar. (2.) Heb. tzaphtzaphah (Ezek. 17:5), called by the Arabs the safsaf, the general name for the willow. This may be the Salix AEgyptica of naturalists. Tristram thinks that by the "willow by the water-courses," the Nerium oleander, the rose-bay oleander, is meant. He says, "It fringes the Upper Jordan, dipping its wavy crown of red into the spray in the rapids under Hermon, and is nutured by the oozy marshes in the Lower Jordan nearly as far as to Jericho...On the Arnon, on the Jabbok, and the Yarmuk it forms a continuous fringe. In many of the streams of Moab it forms a complete screen, which the sun's rays can never penetrate to evaporate the precious moisture. The wild boar lies safely ensconced under its impervious cover."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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13
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