n. pl. wreaths (rēthz, rēths)
a. A ring or circlet of freshly cut or dried flowers, boughs, or leaves worn on the head, placed on a memorial, or hung as a decoration.
b. A similar ornamental ring made of wood, plastic, or other materials.
2. A curling or circular form: a wreath of smoke.
[Middle English wrethe, from Old English writha, band; see wer-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.