yew definition by Webster's New World
- any of a genus (Taxus) of evergreen shrubs and trees of the yew family, having red, cuplike, waxy cones containing a single seed, broad, flattened leaves that are needles, and fine-grained, elastic wood
- the wood, used esp. for making archers' bows
- Archaic an archer's bow of yew
Origin: Middle English ew ; from Old English iw, eow, akin to German eibe (OHG iwa) ; from Indo-European an unverified form (e)iwā- ; from base an unverified form ei-, reddish from source Classical Latin uva, grape: origin, originally name because of color of the wood
yew definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- Any of several poisonous evergreen trees or shrubs of the genus Taxus, having scarlet cup-shaped arils and flat needles that are dark green above and yellowish below.
- The wood of any of these trees, especially the durable, fine-grained wood of the Old World species Taxus baccata, used in cabinetmaking and for archery bows.
Origin: Middle English, from Old English īw.