Definition of yew in English:



  • A coniferous tree which has red berry-like fruits, and most parts of which are highly poisonous. Yews are linked with folklore and superstition and can live to a great age; the timber is used in cabinetmaking and (formerly) to make longbows.

    • ‘Although box and yews can be clipped into formal shapes, most shade plants appear at home in that naturalistic setting.’
    • ‘For background planting, especially if you have plenty of space, grow yews, hawthorn, holly, elder and Viburnum opulus, the Guelder rose.’
    • ‘Many of the needle evergreens including yew, arborvitae, hemlock, and incense cedar make fine hedges.’
    • ‘They cut away the dead wood, the ivy, the Russian vine, leaving a nearly naked yew and Scots pine, which may well survive and regenerate.’
    • ‘Species with random branching, such as arborvitae, juniper, yew, and false cypress, have limbs that occur all along the trunk.’
    • ‘A total of 23 mature trees - including yew, oak and fir - have been destroyed.’
    • ‘The 10-acre garden of cypresses, yews and quickset hedges is called the Domaine des Colombia.’
    • ‘The forest at Weston is over 30 acres and contains a whole variety of species but John's favourites are the hard woods like the elm and the yew.’
    • ‘Rev Snuggs claimed just three of the yew tree's poisonous berries would be enough to kill a child.’
    • ‘Objections were raised over the removal of the yews.’
    • ‘The yews burned.’
    • ‘Some ancient yews have been cherished and loved, but many more are under threat, mainly by humans.’
    • ‘Clipped yew, beech and hornbeam are lovely.’
    • ‘Junipers and yews are the most commonly planted of the narrow-leaved evergreens.’
    • ‘The widely used anticancer drug was derived from the Pacific yew, a tree found in temperate rain forests.’
    • ‘Many gardens and parks contain poisonous plants such as yew and laburnum.’
    • ‘The wood from the yew makes excellent bows.’
    • ‘I will also have to abandon plans for replacing the yew hedge.’
    • ‘However, only three are native to these shores: juniper, Scots pine and yew.’
    • ‘A simple circle of juvenile yews will eventually knit together to enclose a calming circle of pure green.’


Old English īw, ēow, of Germanic origin.