Definition of withy in English:


(also withe)

nounPlural withes, Plural withies

  • 1A tough, flexible branch of an osier or other willow, used for tying, binding, or basketry.

    ‘it is fixed with withies tied to the common rafters’
    as modifier ‘a withy basket’
    • ‘There his mean-spirited Uncle Stan and his kinder but stroke-stricken Aunt Flor live mainly by gathering withies for basket-making, but are now on the edge of destitution.’
    • ‘This was done with thin strips of wood and bark, fine branches from trees such as hazel or willow withies, and reeds.’
    • ‘Thin as a willow withe, and sharp, the long, gray eyes missing nothing.’
    • ‘Billy Greer returns to his uncle's withy farm after the second world war to find it badly run down.’
    • ‘The replica's planks are fixed together with polyester rope, rather than the yew stitches - or withies - used to sew the oak timbers on the original.’
    • ‘White withies are produced by stripping the bark away, the buff has been boiled with its bark on and then the bark then removed and the browns are the withies complete with bark.’
    • ‘Here are penned beasts, goats and spotted cattle, swaying their streaming heads and watching me, ears flapping over woven withy walls.’
    • ‘In the early medieval period the majority of the basket work was functional and there was no need to add extra work to the making of fish traps and baskets: brown withies would have been the most common.’
    • ‘The village of Stoke St Gregory is at the centre of the withy beds.’
    small branch, shoot, offshoot, stem, scion
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      another term for osier
      • ‘HUIA 2002 Marlborough Medium bodied withy earthy smoky flavours which remind me of Lapsang Souchong tea.’
      • ‘The bat was a ‘staff’ made of withy about 3 1/2 feet long.’


Old English wīthig, of Germanic origin; related to German Weide.