Definition of withy in English:


(also withe)


  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Billy Greer returns to his uncle's withy farm after the second world war to find it badly run down.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Here are penned beasts, goats and spotted cattle, swaying their streaming heads and watching me, ears flapping over woven withy walls.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The village of Stoke St Gregory is at the centre of the withy beds.’
    • ‘Thin as a willow withe, and sharp, the long, gray eyes missing nothing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This was done with thin strips of wood and bark, fine branches from trees such as hazel or willow withies, and reeds.’
    small branch, shoot, offshoot, stem, scion
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      another term for osier
      • ‘The bat was a ‘staff’ made of withy about 3 1/2 feet long.’
      • ‘HUIA 2002 Marlborough Medium bodied withy earthy smoky flavours which remind me of Lapsang Souchong tea.’


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