noun Architecture.
  1. a set of moldings, as on a column, resembling small convex fluting.
  2. ornamentation consisting of such moldings.
  3. a number of narrow, vertical grooves on the edge of a coin, medal, etc.

Origin of reeding

First recorded in 1805–15; reed + -ing1


  1. the straight stalk of any of various tall grasses, especially of the genera Phragmites and Arundo, growing in marshy places.
  2. any of the plants themselves.
  3. such stalks or plants collectively.
  4. anything made from such a stalk or from something similar, as an arrow.
  5. Music.
    1. a pastoral or rustic musical pipe made from a reed or from the hollow stalk of some other plant.
    2. a small, flexible piece of cane or metal that, attached to the mouth of any of various wind instruments, is set into vibration by a stream of air and, in turn, sets into vibration the air column enclosed in the tube of the instrument.
    3. reed instrument.
  6. Textiles. the series of parallel strips of wires in a loom that force the weft up to the web and separate the threads of the warp.
  7. an ancient unit of length, equal to 6 cubits. Ezek. 40:5.
verb (used with object)
  1. to decorate with reed.
  2. to thatch with or as if with reed.
  3. to make vertical grooves on (the edge of a coin, medal, etc.).
  1. a broken reed, a person or thing too frail or weak to be relied on for support: Under stress he showed himself to be a broken reed.

Origin of reed

before 900; Middle English; Old English hrēod; cognate with German, Dutch riet
Related formsreed·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for reeding

Historical Examples of reeding

  • He frequently decorated his flatware with a refined etching or gravure, his hollow ware with reeding.

    Seaport in Virginia

    Gay Montague Moore

  • The calculator must not forget the cost of entering the first warp in a harness, also the reeding.

    Theory Of Silk Weaving

    Arnold Wolfensberger

  • The mantel is somewhat busy, and a little heavy, yet it has delicate detail and reeding on the sides.


    Tony P. Wrenn

  • The stiles of the entrance are basically the pilaster type although the reeding within the pilaster is rounded rather than flat.


    Tony P. Wrenn

British Dictionary definitions for reeding


  1. a set of small semicircular architectural mouldings
  2. the milling on the edges of a coin


  1. any of various widely distributed tall grasses of the genus Phragmites, esp P. communis, that grow in swamps and shallow water and have jointed hollow stalks
  2. the stalk, or stalks collectively, of any of these plants, esp as used for thatching
  3. music
    1. a thin piece of cane or metal inserted into the tubes of certain wind instruments, which sets in vibration the air column inside the tube
    2. a wind instrument or organ pipe that sounds by means of a reed
  4. one of the several vertical parallel wires on a loom that may be moved upwards to separate the warp threads
  5. a small semicircular architectural mouldingSee also reeding
  6. an ancient Hebrew unit of length equal to six cubits
  7. an archaic word for arrow
  8. broken reed a weak, unreliable, or ineffectual person
verb (tr)
  1. to fashion into or supply with reeds or reeding
  2. to thatch using reeds

Word Origin for reed

Old English hreod; related to Old Saxon hriod, Old High German hriot


  1. Sir Carol . 1906–76, English film director. His films include The Third Man (1949), An Outcast of the Islands (1951), and Oliver! (1968), for which he won an Oscar
  2. Lou . born 1942, US rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist: member of the Velvet Underground (1965–70). His albums include Transformer (1972), Berlin (1973), Street Hassle (1978), New York (1989), Set the Twilight Reeling (1996), and The Raven (2003)
  3. Walter . 1851–1902, US physician, who proved that yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes (1900)
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 reeding



"tall, broad-leafed grass growing in wet places," Old English hreod "reed, rush," from Proto-Germanic *kreut- "reed" (cf. Old Saxon hraid, Old Frisian hriad, Middle Dutch ried, Dutch riet, Old High German hriot, German Ried), with no known cognates beyond Germanic.

Meaning "musical pipe made from a reed stem" is from late 14c. (reed-pipe is from c.1300). As part of the mouthpiece of a musical instrument it is attested from 1520s. Meaning "a reed instrument" is from 1838.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

reeding in Medicine


[rēd]Walter 1851-1902
  1. American surgeon who led the commission that proved experimentally that yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

reeding in Science


[rēd]Walter 1851-1902
  1. American physician and army surgeon who proved in 1900 that yellow fever was transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. His research led to the mosquito eradication programs carried out by William Gorgas that virtually eradicated yellow fever from Havana, Cuba, and from the Panama Canal Zone.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

reeding in Culture


A thin piece of wood or plastic used in many woodwind instruments. It vibrates when the player holds it in the mouth and blows over it (as with a single reed) or through it (as with a double reed). Clarinets and saxophones use a single reed; bassoons and oboes use a double reed.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with reeding


see broken reed.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.