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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.
circular garland, usually woven of flowers, leaves, and foliage, that traditionally indicates honour or celebration. The wreath in ancient Egypt was most popular in the form of a chaplet made by sewing flowers to linen bands and tying them around the head. In ancient Greece, wreaths, usually made of olive, pine, laurel, celery, or palm, were awarded to athletes victorious in the Olympic Games and as prizes to poets and orators. Young lovers in ancient Greece hung wreaths on their lovers' doorways as a sign of affection. In Rome also, laurel crowns were bestowed as a mark of honour, especially on civil officials and returning warriors. During the Italian Renaissance (c. 15th-16th centuries), the custom of wearing wreaths on festive occasions was revived. Later, in Victorian England, a floral wreath sometimes surrounded the chair of the guest of honour at a banquet.