Any tree or shrub of the genus Salix, including many
species, most of which are characterized often used as an emblem of
sorrow, desolation, or desertion. "A wreath of willow to show my
forsaken plight." Sir W. Scott. Hence, a lover forsaken by, or having
lost, the person beloved, is said to wear the willow.
A machine in which cotton or wool is opened and cleansed by
the action of long spikes projecting from a drum which revolves within
a box studded with similar spikes; -- probably so called from having
been originally a cylindrical cage made of willow rods, though some
derive the term from winnow, as denoting the winnowing, or cleansing,
action of the machine. Called also willy, twilly, twilly devil, and
To open and cleanse, as cotton, flax, or wool, by means
of a willow. See Willow, n., 2.