from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n.pl. The high part of the back of a horse or similar animal, located between the shoulder blades.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The part of the back of a draft animal or horse that is the highest, between the shoulder blades.
- v. Third-person singular simple present indicative form of wither.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n.pl. The ridge between the shoulder bones of a horse, at the base of the neck. See Illust. of horse.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The highest part of the back of a horse, between the shoulderblades and behind the root of the neck, where the mane ceases to grow: as, a horse 15 hands high at the withers.
- n. The barbs or flukes of a harpoon; the witters: so called by British whalemen.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the highest part of the back at the base of the neck of various animals especially draft animals
Possibly from obsolete wither-, against (from the strain exerted on them when a horse draws a load), from Middle English, from Old English.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1580, from Old English dialectical wiðer ("against") + -s; see with. So-named because the part of the horse that pushes against a load. Compare German Widerrist ("withers"), from wider ("against") + Rist ("wrist"). (Wiktionary)