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See more synonyms for twig on Thesaurus.com
  1. a slender shoot of a tree or other plant.
  2. a small offshoot from a branch or stem.
  3. a small, dry, woody piece fallen from a branch: a fire of twigs.
  4. Anatomy. one of the minute branches of a blood vessel or nerve.
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Origin of twig1

before 950; Middle English; Old English twig, twigge, orig. (something) divided in two; akin to Old High German zwīg (German Zweig), Dutch twijg; compare Sanskrit dvikás double
Related formstwig·less, adjectivetwig·like, adjective


verb (used with object), twigged, twig·ging.
  1. to look at; observe: Now, twig the man climbing there, will you?
  2. to see; perceive: Do you twig the difference in colors?
  3. to understand.
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verb (used without object), twigged, twig·ging.
  1. to understand.
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Origin of twig2

1755–65; < Irish tuigim I understand, with English w reflecting the offglide before i of the velarized Irish t typical of southern Ireland; cf. dig2


noun British.
  1. style; fashion.
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Origin of twig3

First recorded in 1805–15; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for twig

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Close on our right a twig snapped and I began to gather myself for the spring.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • Not a sound disturbed the oppressive quiet, not the quiver of a twig.

    A Woman Tenderfoot

    Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

  • Was it his imagination, or did a branch snap, a twig rustle down the road?

    The Green Satin Gown

    Laura E. Richards

  • The painter would not depict every twig, as would the naturalist.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • At first they could not break it, but when they took it twig by twig they broke it easily.

    Master and Man

    Leo Tolstoy

British Dictionary definitions for twig


  1. any small branch or shoot of a tree or other woody plant
  2. something resembling this, esp a minute branch of a blood vessel
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Derived Formstwiglike, adjective

Word Origin

Old English twigge; related to Old Norse dvika consisting of two, Old High German zwīg twig, Old Danish tvige fork


verb twigs, twigging or twigged British informal
  1. to understand (something)
  2. to find out or suddenly comprehend (something)he hasn't twigged yet
  3. (tr) rare to perceive (something)
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Word Origin

C18: perhaps from Gaelic tuig I understand
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 twig


Old English twigge, from Proto-Germanic *twigan (cf. Middle Dutch twijch, Dutch twijg, Old High German zwig, German Zweig "branch, twig"), from the root of twi- (see twin), here meaning "forked" (as in Old English twisel "fork, point of division").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper