• pleach •
pleech • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: Entwine, braid, plait, interlace the branches of trees or bushes to form a hedge, arch, or lattice.
Notes: The derivations of this word are all English: pleached "intertwined", but also "fenced, bordered, or overarched with pleached boughs", pleaching, pleacher. A synonym of this verb is plash, as in 'a plashed/pleached hedgerow'. The similarity of these two words is explained in the Word History.
In Play: Plants are pleached for practical as well as aesthetic reasons: "Harold protects his home from traffic noise with a row of pleached trees." You may also pleach plants overhead: "The path to Harold's garden is covered in pleached roses."
Word History: Today's Good Word was taken from Old North French plechier. Old French's version of the same word was plaissier, which Middle English borrowed as plash. Both words shared their origin in Latin plectere "to braid, interweave", which Latin inherited from PIE plek- "braid, weave". Plek also went into the making of Greek plekein "to plait, twine" and plektos "twisted", Russian plesti "braid, plait", and English plait, which was borrowed from Old French, too. Since PIE [p] became [f] in Germanic languages, we are not surprised to find it in flax ([flæks]), a common material used in weaving. (Let's take our hats off to Debbie Moggio for asserting this little-known Good Word's place in the general vocabulary.)
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