wreathe

[reeth]
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verb (used with object), wreathed; wreathed or (Archaic) wreath·en; wreath·ing.
  1. to encircle or adorn with or as with a wreath.
  2. to form as a wreath by twisting or twining.
  3. to surround in curving or curling masses or form.
  4. to envelop: a face wreathed in smiles.
verb (used without object), wreathed; wreathed or (Archaic) wreath·en; wreath·ing.
  1. to take the form of a wreath or wreaths.
  2. to move in curving or curling masses, as smoke.

Origin of wreathe

1520–30; earlier wrethe, partly v. use of wreath, partly back formation from wrethen, obsolete past participle of writhe
Related formswreath·er, nounin·ter·wreathe, verb, in·ter·wreathed, in·ter·wreath·ing.
Can be confusedwraith wreath wreathe writhe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for wreathe

wreathe

verb
  1. to form into or take the form of a wreath by intertwining or twisting together
  2. (tr) to decorate, crown, or encircle with wreaths
  3. to move or cause to move in a twisting waysmoke wreathed up to the ceiling

Word Origin for wreathe

C16: perhaps back formation from wrēthen, from Old English writhen, past participle of wrīthan to writhe; see wreath
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 wreathe
v.

1520s, a back-formation from wrethen, Middle English past participle of writhe. Related: Wreathed; wreathing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper