Definition of wreathe in English:



  • 1Cover, surround, or encircle (something)

    ‘he sits wreathed in smoke’
    • ‘The bungalow inside is wreathed in smoke, great huge clouds of it, seemingly static around it.’
    • ‘Today, however, fog wreathed the tiny islet, and covered the sand and pebbles at his feet with beadlets of moisture.’
    • ‘I can't imagine anyone not being wreathed in smiles after such an episode.’
    • ‘His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.’
    • ‘Madeira's is a mountainous interior, mysteriously wreathed by a cover of clouds.’
    • ‘Hampden, meanwhile, was eerily wreathed in freezing fog but neither the elements nor the task ahead of him seemed to cow Smith's spirits.’
    • ‘Earlier in the day, Southampton Water was wreathed in smoky fog, forcing the crew to rely on years of hard-won experience to get their passengers safely across.’
    • ‘Ben sat at the keyboard composing furiously, his face wreathed with an angelic smile.’
    • ‘Holmes was sitting wreathed in tobacco smoke and looked up.’
    • ‘The scenery around Loch Linnhe is normally magnificent at this time of year, but last week the gold and russet-brown colours of the Lochaber hills were hidden by the low clouds which wreathed Fort William in grey.’
    • ‘The eruption produced a cloud of steam and ash that wreathed the 3,000 ft Stromboli mountain and a tidal wave that rocked ships in ports more than 100 miles away.’
    • ‘The other man's jowly face was wreathed in smiles.’
    • ‘She had a gentle smile on her face and was wreathed with light from behind, giving her an earth-real glow.’
    • ‘He agreed, a huge smile wreathing his face as he walked the few paces over to the other side of his room.’
    • ‘Instead, Jones was wreathed in smiles which gave way to a brief cry as she stopped in front of her mother, also Marion, and other members of the family who had travelled to Sydney.’
    • ‘Everyone was wreathed in smiles and freedom hung about the air like fresh morning mist.’
    • ‘A sharp knock in the morning and steaming hot tea would wake us up to another glorious day - the sun emerging from behind mist wreathed hills.’
    • ‘Rock Pigeons swirled around occasionally, and a rainbow wreathed the feet of the magnificent bronze atop a fountain.’
    • ‘The blue haze of burning incense wreathed the dragon-created roofs of the Cheng Doon Teng temple.’
    • ‘He could feel a little air rushing past him, and as the final countdown commenced, his face was wreathed in an angelic smile.’
    festoon, garland, drape, cover, envelop, array, bedeck, deck, decorate, ornament, adorn
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    1. 1.1literary with object and adverbial of direction Twist or entwine (something flexible) round or over something.
      ‘shall I once more wreathe my arms about Antonio's neck?’
      • ‘Dried flowers wreathed around a small silver-hilted dagger carved into the shape of a dragon, and several tarot cards showed their faces next to it.’
      • ‘She climbed upon its back, wreathing flowers around its horns.’
      • ‘One plant had wreathed itself round a statue of Vertumnus, which was thus quite veiled and shrouded in a drapery of hanging foliage, so happily arranged that it might have served a sculptor for a study.’
    2. 1.2no object, with adverbial of direction (especially of smoke) move with a curling motion.
      ‘he watched the smoke wreathe into the night air’
      • ‘When she looked at the fire, it was blurred, and the smoke wreathed lazily; she stared intently at that smoke, pretending she could see each and every particle, that she was as small as they were.’
      • ‘We headed back along Lake Cuber as cloud came wreathing among the mountain tops, bringing with it fierce rain.’
      • ‘Her voice chilled him farther than her hands did, hissing like dried ice and dying smoke as it wreathed over his head and sucked into his mouth and clung damp to his lungs.’
      spiral, coil, loop, gyrate, wind, curl, twist, twist and turn, corkscrew, snake, curve, meander, zigzag
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  • 2Form (flowers, leaves, or stems) into a wreath.

    • ‘In the boughs of the trees more cupids are wreathing flowers and fruit.’
    • ‘In a bower in the Duke of Normandy’s garden at Bayeux Princess Adela and her maidens are singing and wreathing flowers.’


  • be wreathed in smiles

    • Be smiling broadly.

      ‘his tanned face was wreathed in smiles’
      • ‘She had lively dark brown eyes, and her face was wreathed in smiles.’
      • ‘Georgiana said with her face wreathed in smiles.’
      • ‘Reid's face wreathed in smiles at this morning's meeting.’
      • ‘It worked, too, and we parted wreathed in smiles.’
      • ‘I can't imagine anyone not being wreathed in smiles after such an episode.’
      • ‘Immediately, all would be wreathed in smiles.’
      • ‘She turned to Lizzy, all wreathed in smiles, and continued.’
      • ‘The world's second richest man is wreathed in smiles.’
      • ‘At the checkout, there was an Asian girl wreathed in smiles.’
      • ‘They grasped each others' hands and stood wreathed in smiles.’


Mid 16th century: partly a back-formation from archaic wrethen, past participle of writhe, reinforced by wreath.