Definition of osier in US English:



  • 1A small Eurasian willow that grows mostly in wet habitats and is a major source of the long flexible shoots (withies) used in basketwork.

    Salix viminalis, family Salicaceae

    • ‘Reed-fringed dykes in the very centre of the vast Halvergate marshes harbour a few in winter; Fenland osier copses are equally attractive.’
    • ‘Similarly, when flooded, the common osier is able to aerate upper adventitious roots, while deeper roots rely on anoxia-tolerance for their survival.’
    1. 1.1 A shoot of a willow.
      • ‘The Lycians are cutting osiers by a pool and will not let her drink the water; indeed to make sure she cannot refresh herself, they stomp around in the mud, stirring up the silt on the bottom out of pure spite.’
      • ‘You play it by hitting the outside with a big wooden kiyak and the inside with a small osier which plays the part of the small drum, not used in Bulgarian folk music.’
    2. 1.2dated Any willow tree.
      • ‘You then discover the placidity of Berkshire: hawthorn, alder and osier hemming in the path; beyond them, water meadows where horses pad about.’
  • 2US Any of several North American dogwoods.

    • ‘The major species are mountain alder, rose spiraea, red osier (the same species found in the eastern United States), and at least three species of willows (Scouler's, arroyo, and Salix lasiandra).’
    • ‘The shrub layer includes mugwort, red osier, silver buffaloberry, and Woods' rose.’
    • ‘Area 3 is near the base of the point about 10 km west of Area 2 and consists of a small mixed woodlot adjacent to damp areas dominated by dense shrubs (primarily red osier dogwood [Cornus stoloniferal).’
    • ‘On the way the road crosses Big Blackhawk Creek and parallels Little Blackhawk Creek, which like Butterfly Creek are lined with dense thickets of willows, alders, and red osier dogwoods.’
    • ‘The shrub layer was variable in density and composition but included beaked hazelnut, green alder, rose (Rosa spp.), red osier dogwood, and saskatoon.’


Late Middle English: from Old French; compare with medieval Latin auseria ‘osier bed’.