a. Any of various deciduous trees or shrubs of the genus Salix, having usually narrow leaves, unisexual flowers borne in catkins, and strong lightweight wood.
b. The wood of any of these trees.
2. Something, such as a cricket bat, that is made from willow.
3. A textile machine consisting of a spiked drum revolving inside a chamber fitted internally with spikes, used to open and clean unprocessed cotton or wool.
tr.v. wil·lowed, wil·low·ing, wil·lows
To open and clean (textile fibers) with a willow.
[Middle English wilowe, from Old English welig; see wel-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.