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pussy willow

[poo s-ee]
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noun
  1. a small willow, Salix discolor, of eastern North America, having silky catkins.
  2. any of various similar willows.

Origin of pussy willow

An Americanism dating back to 1865–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pussy-willow

Historical Examples

  • She made some pussy-willow buds to look like little cats on a stick.

    Peeps at People

    Robert Cortes Holliday

  • We shall take home a band of the Monkeys, tree and all, and you will learn that a pussy-willow is only a baby Monkey half done.

    Woodland Tales

    Ernest Seton-Thompson

  • I got lots of pussy-willow, and some little fellows told me there were May-flowers somewhere.

    Julia The Apostate

    Josephine Daskam

  • One bright day in February I found a pussy-willow tree, with its deep purple buds showing not a hint of the life within.


British Dictionary definitions for pussy-willow

pussy willow

noun
  1. a willow tree that produces silvery silky catkins, esp Salix caprea or S. cinerea in Britain or S. discolor in North America
  2. any of various similar willows
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pussy-willow

n.

1869, on notion of "soft and furry," a children's word, from pussy (n.1) + willow.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper