Definition of willow in English:


(also willow tree)


  • A tree or shrub of temperate climates which typically has narrow leaves, bears catkins, and grows near water. Its pliant branches yield osiers for basketry, and the timber is traditionally used to make cricket bats.

    Genus Salix, family Salicaceae: many species

    • ‘Some 2000 years ago the Greeks used the bark and leaves of the willow tree (which contains salicylic acid) to relieve pain and fever.’
    • ‘Closing her eyes, Sarah lay down on the grass near a tall willow tree.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She wanted a whippy switch off a willow tree in the front yard.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And the tree, the sacred willow tree, the huluppu tree, is no more!’
    • ‘In her madness, Ophelia climbs a willow tree to hang garlands from its branches.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Daddy found this place: there was a willow tree with its branches dipping into the little river nearby.’
    • ‘We chose to sit beneath a willow tree with its branches shielding us from view.’
    • ‘The stream is well overgrown with willow and more.’
    • ‘Ford stood next to a willow tree, the thin branches falling around him like a curtain.’
    • ‘If you want tiger swallowtail butterflies, plant a willow tree.’
    • ‘One of the remedies Hippocrates used for pain and fevers was powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree.’
    • ‘The study area is subalpine tundra, and primary vegetation is shrubby willow.’
    • ‘To his luck he saw the light on in her room and the window open, behind the thick leaves from the willow tree.’
    • ‘Briony walked down the path leading to the old but beautiful whispering willow.’
    • ‘Another twist on this theme is his striking wall lamps, which are essentially steel rods with willow woven around them.’


Old English welig, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wilg.