One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1mass noun A material for making fences, walls, etc., consisting of rods or stakes interlaced with twigs or branches.
- ‘The excavations at Waterstone's uncovered wattle fencing and rubbish pits superbly preserved because of the water-logged conditions under the building.’
- ‘The timbers were the uprights of wattle fences, the complex containing up to 100,000 square feet or 30,500 square metres of fencing, some of which still survives.’
- ‘Yet from wattle to neoprene, the history of architecture is also the history of material invention.’
- ‘The plants were being protected from the gales by old wattle fencing being put alongside the flower beds.’
- ‘The walls of the pit would be lined with wooden planks or wattle, and the floor could also be planked.’
- ‘Our house used to be of stone but the hut I left my wife in was of wattle and hide; I am hoping that she will join me but at the moment we have an infant that is too sick to travel.’
- ‘Here is the second cluster of huts, wattle fences enclosing neat crofts of fowl houses and kitchen-gardens blown with harvest.’
- ‘Dublin's property boundaries were set from the earliest dense occupation, and wattle fences were replicated numerous times in the same positions.’
- ‘Although badly damaged in recent years, evidence of wattle houses and a livestock pen were discovered.’
- ‘Potter described house structures in the eroding sand - round houses of wattle, beneath rectangular buildings with stone wall footings.’
- ‘Yes, they are indeed proper hand-made wattle hurdles, thank you for asking.’
- ‘Woven wattle fences hedge the crofts, enclosing each family's stock of goats and fowl.’
- ‘As we drew close to the source, we found ourselves surrounded by the caves and wattle huts of innumerable holy men; they seemed to rear out of the mist, dotting the landscape wherever we looked.’
- ‘They were found on what was once the Thames foreshore, and would have been stored underwater in a wattle enclosure to stop the wood drying out and splitting.’
- ‘Sotho huts, which have pointed, detachable roofs on walls of mud and wattle, are found throughout the country; these huts have window frames and full doorways.’
- ‘Door posts, a threshold beam and a section of wattle wall are clearly visible.’
- ‘Around these were wattle fences, and men to guard them.’
- ‘Between 18 and 24 guests live close to nature on a twin-shared basis in wattle huts under scented tropical trees.’
- ‘Jeff showed the twins how to weave the twig wattle fence that borders the deck.’
- ‘The experts reckon the house originally has a thatched or cut wood roof supported by a wattle wall and timber posts.’
- 1.1British dialect count noun A wicker hurdle.
2Australian An acacia.
- ‘Our house also seemed a little swallowed by wattle at times.’
- ‘The two Greens Senators wore a sprig of wattle over a postcard picture of the two Australian citizens interned in Guantanamo Bay.’
- ‘Until now the only trees he has seen are wattles and eucalypts, which don't merit a compliment.’
- ‘Like all wattles it's fast-growing and flowers from August to October, but a distinguishing feature is its foliage which smells of cinnamon when crushed in warm weather.’
- ‘For botany lessons, we crossed the road into the botanical gardens, there to examine the leaves of ash, oak, elm, plane, pine but no wattles, gums or banksias.’
Make, enclose, or fill up with wattle.
- ‘He sat in a stilted hut in a native village, wattled and roofed with the long, triangular woven leaves of trees.’
Old English watul, of unknown origin.
A coloured fleshy lobe hanging from the head or neck of the turkey and some other birds.
- ‘In the spring, the male attracts females by gobbling, puffing his feathers, spreading his tail, swelling his face wattles, and drooping his wings.’
- ‘It seems that the males have taken advantage of the females' searching for these by having bright blue and red wattles hanging from their throats.’
- ‘Male asities enlarge their wattles when they display to females and their outer primary feathers produce a buzzing sound when they fly.’
- ‘Its cousin, the stunning kokako, is slate gray with sky-blue wattles decorating a black-masked face.’
- ‘Expression of combs and wattles is directly connected to androgen production, whereas feather ornament size seldom depends on current levels of testosterone secretion.’
- ‘Chickens may die without showing any symptoms, but typically, birds suddenly show swelling about the eyes, wattles and ear lobes.’
- ‘The members of Eurylaiminae are variable in their plumage; the wattled broadbills have an eye ring of large blue wattles.’
- ‘They also had larger and more colorful fleshy facial shields and wattles.’
- ‘Some cracids have brightly colored skin on the face or neck, or ornaments such as wattles, casques or combs.’
- ‘The frontal shield and wattles are fleshy protuberances.’
- ‘Some species have a prominent head casque, wattles or bare heads and necks with brightly colored skin.’
- ‘Common sites of injection in birds include the wing web, wattle, dewlap, and interdigitary skin.’
Early 16th century: of unknown origin.
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