any of several evergreen, coniferous trees and shrubs of the genera Taxus and Torreya, constituting the family Taxaceae, of the Old World, North America, and Japan, having needlelike or scalelike foliage and seeds enclosed in a fleshy aril.
the fine-grained, elastic wood of any of these trees.
an archer's bow made of this wood.
this tree or its branches as a symbol of sorrow, death, or resurrection.
before 900;Middle Englishew(e), Old Englishēow, ī(o)w; cognate with Old High Germanīga, īwa (Middle High Germanīwe,GermanEibe), Old Norseýr, MIr eó yew (Old Irish: stem, shaft), Welshywen yew tree, Russianíva willow
any coniferous tree of the genus Taxus, of the Old World and North America, esp T. baccata, having flattened needle-like leaves, fine-grained elastic wood, and solitary seeds with a red waxy aril resembling berries: family Taxaceae
the wood of any of these trees, used to make bows for archery
(archery) a bow made of yew
Old English īw; related to Old High German īwa, Old Norse ӯr yew, Latin ūva grape, Russian iva willow
O.E. iw, eow "yew," from P.Gmc. *iwa-/*iwo- (cf. M.Du. iwe, Du. ijf, O.H.G. iwa, Ger. Eibe, O.N. yr), from PIE *ei-wo- (cf. O.Ir. eo, Welsh ywen "yew"), perhaps a suffixed form of *ei- "reddish, motley, yellow." OED says Fr. if, Sp. iva, M.L. ivus are from Gmc. (and says Du. ijf is from Fr.); others posit a Gaul. ivos as the source of these. Lith. jeva likewise is said to be from Gmc. It symbolizes both death and immortality, being poisonous as well as long-lived.