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[reeth] /rið/
verb (used with object), wreathed; wreathed or (Archaic) wreathen; wreathing.
to encircle or adorn with or as with a wreath.
to form as a wreath by twisting or twining.
to surround in curving or curling masses or form.
to envelop:
a face wreathed in smiles.
verb (used without object), wreathed; wreathed or (Archaic) wreathen; wreathing.
to take the form of a wreath or wreaths.
to move in curving or curling masses, as smoke.
Origin of wreathe
1520-30; earlier wrethe, partly v. use of wreath, partly back formation from wrethen, obsolete past participle of writhe
Related forms
wreather, noun
interwreathe, verb, interwreathed, interwreathing.
Can be confused
wraith, wreath, wreathe, writhe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wreathe
  • As she drives out of the hollow, clumps of fog wreathe the ridgeline, and the mountainsides are washed in muted greens and grays.
  • On that day the cigarette smokers, no longer free to wreathe their desks in fragile clouds of blue, took to the street.
  • It is but making her a flaunting paradox to wreathe her in gems and flowers.
British Dictionary definitions for wreathe


to form into or take the form of a wreath by intertwining or twisting together
(transitive) to decorate, crown, or encircle with wreaths
to move or cause to move in a twisting way: smoke wreathed up to the ceiling
Word Origin
C16: perhaps back formation from wrēthen, from Old English writhen, past participle of wrīthan to writhe; see wreath
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 wreathe

1520s, a back-formation from wrethen, Middle English past participle of writhe. Related: Wreathed; wreathing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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