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wreath

[reeth]
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noun, plural wreaths [reeth z, reeths] /riðz, riθs/.
  1. a circular band of flowers, foliage, or any ornamental work, for adorning the head or for any decorative purpose; a garland or chaplet.
  2. any ringlike, curving, or curling mass or formation: a wreath of clouds.
  3. (in stair building)
    1. a curved section of a handrail.
    2. Also called wreath·piece.a curved section of a string.
verb (used with or without object)
  1. to wreathe.

Origin of wreath

before 1000; Middle English wrethe, Old English writha something wound or coiled; akin to writhe
Related formswreath·like, adjective
Can be confusedwraith wreath wreathe writhe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wreath

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • That wreath it was which should be more dear than a chest of gold to Creon's family and Creon's city.

  • Nance turned away, and put up her chin to watch a wreath of smoke.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • A wreath of roses was tried on, but this too was so unsightly that I refused to wear it.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • Such a wreath, then, is made by lovers when they wish to see their 'fate.'

    Storyology

    Benjamin Taylor

  • And a wreath of immortelles and a bouquet bought by the Coupeaus were also placed on the coffin.

    L'Assommoir

    Emile Zola


British Dictionary definitions for wreath

wreath

noun plural wreaths (riːðz, riːθs)
  1. a band of flowers or foliage intertwined into a ring, usually placed on a grave as a memorial or worn on the head as a garland or a mark of honour
  2. any circular or spiral band or formation
  3. a spiral or circular defect appearing in porcelain and glassware
Derived Formswreathless, adjectivewreathlike, adjective

Word Origin

Old English wrǣth, wrǣd; related to Middle Low German wrēden to twist. See writhe
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 wreath

n.

Old English wriða "fillet, bandage, band" (literally "that which is wound around"), from Proto-Germanic *writhon (cf. Old Norse riða, Danish vride, Old High German ridan "to turn, twist," Old Saxon, Old Frisian wreth "angry," Dutch wreed "rough, harsh, cruel," Old High German reid "twisted," Old Norse reiða "angry"), from PIE *wreit- "to turn, bend" (cf. Old English wriða "band," wriðan "to twist, torture," wraþ "angry"), from root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (see versus). Meaning "ring or garland of flowers" is first recorded 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper