- 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 of yewMiddle 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
- Any of several poisonous evergreen coniferous trees or shrubs of the genus Taxus, having scarlet cup-shaped arils and flat needles that are dark green above and yellowish below. Yews contain compounds used in medicine and are often grown as ornamentals.
- The wood of any of these trees, especially the durable, fine-grained wood of the Eurasian and North African species Taxus baccata, used in cabinetmaking and for archery bows.
Origin of yewMiddle English, from Old English īw.
(countable and uncountable, plural yews)
- (countable) A species of coniferous tree, Taxus baccata, with dark-green flat needle-like leaves and seeds bearing red arils, native to western, central and southern Europe, northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Asia.
- (countable, by extension) Any tree or shrub of the genus Taxus.
- (uncountable) The wood of the yew.
- A bow for archery, made of yew wood.
- Made from the wood of the yew tree.
From Middle English ew, from Old English īw, ēow, from Proto-Germanic *īwaz, *īhwaz (compare Icelandic ýr), masculine variant of *īwō (compare Dutch ijf, German Eibe), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁eiH-u̯eh₂ (compare Hittite [script?] (eja, “type of evergreen”), Welsh yw (“yews”), Lithuanian ievà (“bird cherry”), Russian ива (íva, “willow”)).