Contents

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

Partly a back-formation of wreathen (past participle of writhe), and partly from wreath.

PronunciationEdit

VerbEdit

wreathe ‎(third-person singular simple present wreathes, present participle wreathing, simple past and past participle wreathed)

  1. (transitive) To twist, curl or entwine something into a shape similar to a wreath.
    • c. 1594, William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act IV, Scene 3,[1]
      You do not love Maria; Longaville
      Did never sonnet for her sake compile,
      Nor never lay his wreathed arms athwart
      His loving bosom to keep down his heart.
    • 1681, Andrew Marvell, “The Fair Singer,” lines 10-12,[2]
      But how should I avoid to be her slave,
      Whose subtle art invisibly can wreathe
      My fetters of the very air I breathe?
    • 1818, John Keats, Endymion, Book I, lines 6-11[3]
      Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
      A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
      Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
      Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
      Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
      Made for our searching: []
  2. (transitive) To form a wreathlike shape around something.
    • 1915, T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,”[4]
      We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
      By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
      Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
    • 1942, Emily Carr, The Book of Small, “The Orange Lily,”[5]
      The flowers crackled at Anne’s touch. “Enough to wreathe the winter’s dead,” she said with a happy little sigh and, taking a pink bud from the pile, twined it in the lace of her black cap.
  3. (intransitive) To curl, writhe or spiral in the form of a wreath.
    • 1833, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “A True Dream,” New York: Macmillan, 1914,[6]
      I unsealed the vial mystical,
      I outpoured the liquid thing,
      And while the smoke came wreathing out,
      I stood unshuddering.
  4. (obsolete) To turn violently aside or around; to wrench.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.i:
      from so heauie sight his head did wreath, / Accusing fortune, and too cruell fate [...].

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