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wreath

[reeth] /riθ/
noun, plural wreaths
[reeth z, reeths] /riðz, riθs/ (Show IPA)
1.
a circular band of flowers, foliage, or any ornamental work, for adorning the head or for any decorative purpose; a garland or chaplet.
2.
any ringlike, curving, or curling mass or formation:
a wreath of clouds.
3.
  1. a curved section of a handrail.
  2. Also called wreathpiece. a curved section of a string.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
4.
to wreathe.
Origin of wreath
1000
before 1000; Middle English wrethe, Old English writha something wound or coiled; akin to writhe
Related forms
wreathlike, adjective
Can be confused
wraith, wreath, wreathe, writhe.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for wreath
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She is going to wear a wreath of black briony (preserved and set by Miss Ford, a person cunning in these matters).

    Sandra Belloni, Complete George Meredith
  • That wreath it was which should be more dear than a chest of gold to Creon's family and Creon's city.

    Buried Cities, Part 2 Jennie Hall
  • There is also a branch that lieth folded and wreathed into circles, like to the wreath of Alcimedon.

  • A wreath of roses was tried on, but this too was so unsightly that I refused to wear it.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Both colors may, generally, be seen on any wreath of cottage smoke.

British Dictionary definitions for wreath

wreath

/riːθ/
noun (pl) wreaths (riːðz; riːθs)
1.
a band of flowers or foliage intertwined into a ring, usually placed on a grave as a memorial or worn on the head as a garland or a mark of honour
2.
any circular or spiral band or formation
3.
a spiral or circular defect appearing in porcelain and glassware
Derived Forms
wreathless, adjective
wreathlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English wrǣth, wrǣd; related to Middle Low German wrēden to twist. See writhe
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 wreath
n.

Old English wriða "fillet, bandage, band" (literally "that which is wound around"), from Proto-Germanic *writhon (cf. Old Norse riða, Danish vride, Old High German ridan "to turn, twist," Old Saxon, Old Frisian wreth "angry," Dutch wreed "rough, harsh, cruel," Old High German reid "twisted," Old Norse reiða "angry"), from PIE *wreit- "to turn, bend" (cf. Old English wriða "band," wriðan "to twist, torture," wraþ "angry"), from root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (see versus). Meaning "ring or garland of flowers" is first recorded 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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12
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