One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A tree or shrub of temperate climates that typically has narrow leaves, bears catkins, and grows near water. Its pliant branches yield osiers for basketry, and its wood has various uses.
Genus Salix, family Salicaceae: many species
- ‘To his luck he saw the light on in her room and the window open, behind the thick leaves from the willow tree.’
- ‘She wanted a whippy switch off a willow tree in the front yard.’
- ‘Closing her eyes, Sarah lay down on the grass near a tall willow tree.’
- ‘The stream is well overgrown with willow and more.’
- ‘Daddy found this place: there was a willow tree with its branches dipping into the little river nearby.’
- ‘And the tree, the sacred willow tree, the huluppu tree, is no more!’
- ‘On her fifteenth birthday she had stupidly agreed to jump off a branch of a willow tree over a shallow ravine some ten feet below on a dare.’
- ‘It is said that Hippocrates (he of the Hippocratic Oath) brewed leaves from the willow tree to ease the pain of childbirth.’
- ‘A wiggling larva on a leaf of a willow tree catches her eye and is quickly consumed.’
- ‘If you want tiger swallowtail butterflies, plant a willow tree.’
- ‘In her madness, Ophelia climbs a willow tree to hang garlands from its branches.’
- ‘Ford stood next to a willow tree, the thin branches falling around him like a curtain.’
- ‘Another twist on this theme is his striking wall lamps, which are essentially steel rods with willow woven around them.’
- ‘Briony walked down the path leading to the old but beautiful whispering willow.’
- ‘The study area is subalpine tundra, and primary vegetation is shrubby willow.’
- ‘Some 2000 years ago the Greeks used the bark and leaves of the willow tree (which contains salicylic acid) to relieve pain and fever.’
- ‘The walls of the maze are planted with willow, and there are little jokes throughout, such as a skeleton reclining on a bench and a small cricket pavilion.’
- ‘He stopped when he saw her, her thread bare cotton skirt hiked up to her knees as her feet brushed the top of the water underneath a willow tree.’
- ‘We chose to sit beneath a willow tree with its branches shielding us from view.’
- ‘One of the remedies Hippocrates used for pain and fevers was powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree.’
2A machine with revolving spikes used for cleaning cotton, wool, or other fibers.
- ‘The Japanese willow machine made good money for the domestic economy.’
Old English welig, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wilg.
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