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Wreathe vs. Wreath

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I wreathed my door with a lily wreath.

Wreath and wreathe are homophones of each other that is, they sound the same, have very similar spellings but their meanings are quite different. Have you heard of these two homophones before and do you know the difference among them?

Wreath and wreathe are very closely related to each other just as breath and breathe are related and so sometimes there arise a misunderstanding on when to use which wreath.

This article will tell you all you need to know about wreath and wreathe along with some everyday examples to give you a better understanding of the difference in their meanings.

Origin:

Wreathe originated in mid-16th century, partly a back-formation from archaic wrethen, past participle of writhe. Wreath originated from Old English writha, and it is related to writhe.

Wreath as noun:

Wreath is used as a noun in English language where it means an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring and used for decoration or for laying on a grave.

The Queen laid a wreath at the Cenotaph.

A carved representation of a wreath or a ring made of or resembling soft, twisted material is also called a wreath.

A gold wreath was laid upon the rich man’s grave.

Early in Scottish language, wreath was referred to a snowdrift. Wreath also represents a curl or ring of smoke or cloud.

Wreaths of mist swirled up into the cold air.

Wreath as verb:

The word wreathe with an e at the end is used as a verb in English language where it means to cover, surround, or encircle something.

He sat wreathed in smoke and fire.

The act of twisting and entwining (something flexible) round or over something is also called wreathe.

Shall I once more wreathe my arms about Antonio's neck?

The formation of flowers, leaves or stems into a wreath is called a wreath. The movement of smoke in a curling motion is also called wreathe.

He watched the smoke wreathe into the night air.

Examples:

That could be why every January, I get a certain sugar craving that can only be satisfied by an icing-drenched, cinnamon-laced braided wreath. [Washington Post]

I discovered old photographs of her dressed as Mother Earth, wrapped in a bed sheet with a plastic Christmas wreath on her head. [Guardian]

The Lincoln Association of Jersey City will lay a wreath tomorrow afternoon and later host a dinner in honor of the 16th president’s birthday. [NJ.com]

The mysteries of high finance now wreathe their enigmas around Ibrox and Tynecastle. [Scotsman]

My support for Ireland dissolved when this brouhaha began, when the politicians got involved, when they began to wreathe themselves in the luxury of perpetual victimhood. [Times Online]

Mass graves wreathe this ancient Afghan city, bearing the grim evidence of its central role in this country’s civil war. [New York Times]

Wreath or wreathe:

The difference between wreath and wreathe is similar to that between breath and breathe as well as sheath and sheathe. Wreath is a noun, and wreathe is its corresponding verb, meaning to twist or entwine into a wreath, or to decorate with or as with a wreath. So, for instance, during the holiday season, one might festively wreathe a tree with wreaths.

 

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"Wreathe vs. Wreath." Grammar.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 22 Nov. 2017. <http://www.grammar.com/wreathe_vs._wreath>.

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