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twig 1

1. A young shoot representing the current season's growth of a woody plant.
2. Any small, leafless branch of a woody plant.

[Middle English, from Old English twigge; see dwo- in Indo-European roots.]

twig 2

v. twigged, twig·ging, twigs Chiefly British
1. To observe or notice.
2. To understand or figure out: "The layman has twigged what the strategist twigged almost two decades ago" (Manchester Guardian Weekly).
To be or become aware of the situation; understand: "As Europe is now twigging, the best breeding ground for innovators who know how to do business is often big, competitive companies" (Economist).

[Perhaps from Irish Gaelic tuig-, stem of tuigim, I understand, from Old Irish tuicim.]

twig 3

n. Archaic
The current style; the fashion.

[Origin unknown.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


  • drey - A squirrel's nest of twigs in a tree.
  • broom - Was first called a besom, but evolved because many of them were made of twigs from the wild broom shrub.
  • lop - The smaller branches and twigs of a tree.
  • whiskers - Originally the word for a bundle of feathers, twigs, etc. used for whisking (from "whisk"), it then came to denote the projecting hairs or bristles of mammals.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
In pain the birdcatcher threw down the twigs, and the noise made the Dove take wing.
The green and budding twigs may represent existing species; and those produced during each former year may represent the long succession of extinct species.
A moment of silence ensued, and then was heard the rustling of leaves and crackling of twigs like the coming of many men; and forth from the glade burst a score or two of stalwart yeomen, all clad in Lincoln green, like Robin, with good Will Stutely and the widow's three sons at their head.
This time I found much employment, and very suitable also to the time, for I found great occasion for many things which I had no way to furnish myself with but by hard labour and constant application; particularly I tried many ways to make myself a basket, but all the twigs I could get for the purpose proved so brittle that they would do nothing.
The twigs and branches hurled at Numa, Tarzan soon realized, did not hurt him greatly even when they struck him, and did not injure him at all, so the ape-man looked about for more effective missiles, nor did he have to look long.
And Mr Pickering had stopped treading on twigs. The faintest of night breezes ruffled the tree-tops above them.
`For some way I heard nothing but the crackling twigs under my feet, the faint rustle of the breeze above, and my own breathing and the throb of the blood-vessels in my ears.
We were fain to pacify them by chewing the tender bark of roots and twigs, which, if they did not afford us nourishment, were at least sweet and pleasant to the taste.
Their miserable horse fared no better than themselves, having for the first day or two no other fodder than the ends of willow twigs, and the bark of the cotton-wood tree.
The commonest dream of my early childhood was something like this: It seemed that I was very small and that I lay curled up in a sort of nest of twigs and boughs.
Sparks and burning twigs began to fall into the road, and single leaves like puffs of flame.
Through the hard century-old bark, even where there were no twigs, leaves had sprouted such as one could hardly believe the old veteran could have produced.