Definition of reed in English:


Syllabification: reed
Pronunciation: /rēd


  • 1A tall, slender-leaved plant of the grass family that grows in water or on marshy ground.
    • Genera Phragmites and Arundo, family Gramineae: several species, in particular the common (or Norfolk) reed (P. australis), which is used for thatching
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    • Aquatic plants come in many forms, from relatively simple multi-cellular algae to reeds and water lilies.
    • Water lilies, reeds and sometimes, on hot days and nights, mists articulate the change between the heavily trafficked street and the park.
    • Look again for flooded areas, especially where long grasses and reeds lie over the water's surface.
  • 1.1Used in names of plants similar to reeds, growing in wet habitats, e.g., bur reed.
  • 1.2The tall, thin, straight stalk of a reed, used especially as material for thatching.
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    • The facade is of Corrib stone and the roof is thatched with Turkish reed to a minimum depth of 14 inches - the thatching has a lifetime of more than 15 years.
    • People making a living off the fens catching eels and harvesting marsh reed for thatching were a tad upset and started a guerilla war against the engineers who were building the drains.
    • Nigerians build simple rectangular or cylindrical houses of reed, mud brick, or cinder block.
  • 1.3 [often as modifier] Reeds growing in a mass or used as material, especially for making thatch or household items: a reed curtain clumps of reed and grass
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    • In the north, walls are made of millet stalks or reeds, and roofs are typically corrugated tin.
    • Here we've got some reeds as well, which are mainly used for thatching the roofs.
    • From the riverbanks reeds are harvested for hut building and thatching.
  • 1.4 literary A rustic musical pipe made from a reed or from straw.
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    • A single, consistent bar on a hollow reed, just musical enough to be considered a note.
  • 2A thing or person resembling or likened to a reed, in particular.
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    • You are weak reeds, cast aside in a search for something useful.
    • On that slim reed of hope that an agreement might still be reached, the talks adjourned at 6 a.m.
    • A lot of things I don't agree with, but I'm a grass reed, I go with it.
  • 2.1A weak or impressionable person: the jurors were mere reeds in the wind
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    • He obviously cannot control his own people and became a weak reed in the process.
  • 2.2 literary An arrow.
  • 2.3A weaver’s comblike implement for separating the threads of the warp and correctly positioning the weft.
  • 2.4 (reeds) Semicylindrical adjacent moldings grouped like reeds laid together.
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    • One easily accounts for the 3 small sinkings on the Doric capital: they represented the strings that tied the original bundled reeds together to make them strong to bear great weight.
    • In order to give the stucco a hold on a wooden wall or ceiling reeds are nailed to the surface beforehand, providing a ‘key’.
  • 3A piece of thin cane or metal, sometimes doubled, that vibrates in a current of air to produce the sound of various musical instruments, as in the mouthpiece of a clarinet or oboe, at the base of some organ pipes, and as part of a set in the accordion and harmonica.
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    • She had just attached the reed to the mouth piece when she realized, ‘Oh my gosh!’
    • Wind instruments are tuned by adjustment to the length of tubing, using the tuning-slide on a brass instrument, the staple of the reed on an oboe, or the movable top joint of a flute, etc.
    • She hoped no one noticed her bright cheeks as she attached the reed to her mouth piece.
  • 3.1A wind instrument played with a reed.
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    • The Beast isn't even an electronic record as such, as Michel records himself on guitar, drums, melodica, horns, reeds, keys, the list goes on.
    • Al is a rare multi-instrumentalist, able to alternate on reeds and trumpet with equal artistry over an evening.
    • Youssou N'Dour worked with Fathy Salama, who arranged and conducted his orchestral group of violins, reeds, flutes, and percussion.
  • 3.2An organ stop with reed pipes.
  • 4An electrical contact used in a magnetically operated switch or relay.
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    • By bouncing, the reed breaks an electrical circuit.



More example sentences
  • Cabinet door panels of translucent resin from 3form contain reedlike thatch for an organic look.
  • She sings in English, but her Norwegian accent hints reedlike through the edges.
  • Another few steps and Michael and Tess were standing in thick reedlike grass, looking out over an inlet to the Atlantic Ocean.


Old English hrēod; related to Dutch riet and German Ried.

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Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody