[with-ee, with-ee]Chiefly British
adjective, with·i·er, with·i·est.
  1. made of pliable branches or twigs, especially of withes.
  2. flexible; pliable.

Origin of withy

before 1000; Middle English; Old English wīthig; akin to withe, Old Norse vīthir, Old High German wīda, Greek ītéa willow, Latin vītis vine
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for withy

Historical Examples of withy

  • The withy bands were but weak; it is no great marvel that he shook them off.

  • A blasted oak will tumble to the earth, if struck by a thunderbolt,—like a withy.

    The Buccaneer

    Mrs. S. C. Hall

  • Would you mind taking a turn with me in the withy walk, Harriet Roe?

  • As she was passing the top of the withy walk, their voices reached her ear.

  • With a wire there is little risk of that; but then the withy does not cut its way into the fish.

    The Gamekeeper at Home

    Richard Jefferies

British Dictionary definitions for withy


noun plural withies
  1. a variant spelling of withe (def. 1), withe (def. 2)
  2. a willow tree, esp an osier
  1. (of people) tough and agile
  2. rare resembling a withe in strength or flexibility

Word Origin for withy

Old English wīdig (e); related to Old Norse vīthir, Old High German wīda, Latin vītis vine, Sanskrit vītika fetter. See withe, wire
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 withy

Old English wiðig "willow, willow twig," from Proto-Germanic *withjon- "willow" (cf. Old Norse viðir, Danish vidje, Old High German wida, German Weide "willow"), from PIE *wei-ti-, suffixed form of root *wei- "to bend, twist" (cf. Avestan vaeiti- "osier," Greek itea "willow," Latin vitis "vine," Lithuanian vytis "willow twig," Polish witwa, Welsh gwden "willow," Russian vitvina "branch, bough").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper