• WordNet 3.6
    • n catkin a cylindrical spikelike inflorescence
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Catkin kăt"kĭn (Bot) An ament; a species of inflorescence, consisting of a slender axis with many unisexual apetalous flowers along its sides, as in the willow and poplar, and (as to the staminate flowers) in the chestnut, oak, hickory, etc. -- so called from its resemblance to a cat's tail. See Illust. of Ament.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n catkin In botany, a scaly spike of unisexual flowers, usually deciduous after flowering or fruiting, as in the willow and birch; an ament. Also called cattail.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Catkin a crowded spike or tuft of small unisexual flowers with reduced scale-like bracts, as in the willow, hazel, &c
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cat, + -kin,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. cat; found also in Celt., Slav., Ar., Finn, &c.


In literature:

I have a seedling about ten years old which didn't have one catkin bloom.
"Northern Nut Growers Association, Report of the Proceedings at the Fourth Annual Meeting" by Various
DR. MORRIS: For instance, take the hazel when its catkins are just beginning to elongate.
"Northern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Fifth Annual Meeting" by Various
They were all full of catkins.
"Northern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Eleventh Annual Meeting" by Various
In P. rigida I have found single catkins or clusters of all numbers from two to seventy or more.
"The Genus Pinus" by George Russell Shaw
Here and there was a humblebee, gathering honey from the small purple catkins of the prostrate willows, now in full bloom.
"Birds in the Bush" by Bradford Torrey
And the catkins come the first spring day.
"Pinafore Palace" by Various
The pussy willows put on their silvery furs, the birches and elders unfurled their catkin tassels.
"A Mountain Boyhood" by Joe Mills
The Willows, Birches, Chestnuts, Oaks, Pines, and many others have their flowers in catkins.
"Trees of the Northern United States" by Austin C. Apgar
Their nests are made of strips of vegetable fibre, weeds, etc., and lined with horsehair or catkins.
"The Bird Book" by Chester A. Reed
On these almost universal, but on nothing else, except on the fallen catkins of the same species.
"The North American Slime-Moulds" by Thomas H. (Thomas Huston) MacBride

In poetry:

And I will live with Delight!
I will know what the children know
When they dance along with the April wind
To find where the catkins grow!
"Paeans" by Virna Sheard
It may be that the catkin-covered sallow,
With her illusive, glimmering surprise,
Pale golden-tinted as a tall young goddess,
Deceived my eyes;
"The Ancient Gods" by Mary Webb
She passed by the hazel dell, and lifted
The coverlet fern where the snow had drifted,
To see if it there still lingered on,
Then shook the catkins, and laughed, `'Tis gone!'
"The Passing Of Spring" by Alfred Austin
Among the purple buds, like laden censers,
Careless upon the wind the catkins swing;
They lay a golden spell upon the morning.
From their soft glee how many trees will spring?
"Little Things" by Mary Webb
The poplar, all its catkins shed,
With balsam-scented leaves is hung,
The ash with pinnate fronds is spread;
The blossom red
Upon the elm is fading fast /
The emerald studs among.
"Leaf-Time" by David Gow
But were these timeless dead to awaken an image for us,
see, they might be pointing to th catkins, hanging
from the leafless hazels, or else they might mean
the rain that falls upon the dark earth in early Spring.
"Elegy X" by Rainer Maria Rilke

In news:

Raeven Lee Hanan, left, as Catkin and Tom Hanks as Zachry in "Cloud Atlas.".
Flocks of redpolls descend on birches in the winter and feed enthusiastically on catkins, leaving thousands of tiny, brown, star-like petals on the freshly fallen snow.
Raeven Lee Hanan as Catkin and Tom Hanks as Zachry "Cloud Atlas ".
One of them keeps its catkins well into winter – and that's a good way to identify them.