\ˈā-ˌkȯrn, -kərn \

Definition of acorn 

: the nut of the oak usually seated in or surrounded by a hard woody cupule of indurated bracts

Illustration of acorn

Illustration of acorn

Examples of acorn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The candidate for a seat in the UC Berkeley student Senate promised safe spaces for squirrels, better access to acorns and support groups for those experiencing habitat loss. Teresa Watanabe,, "At UC Berkeley, a squirrel ran for student Senate and won — driving some people nuts," 20 Apr. 2018 These rodents taunted us for as long as their arsenal of acorns lasted, which meant forever. Sally Higginson,, "Column: A pair of squirrelly backyard pets," 12 July 2018 Porcupine and Skunk try to cheer him up with gifts of detritus from around the woods and pond — an old shoe, a red and white fishing bob, some acorns. New York Times, "Brief Tales for New Readers and Little Listeners From Philip Stead and More," 29 June 2018 Every acorn will have something special to take home as well. Courant Community, "Community News For The Putnam-Killingly Edition," 10 July 2018 Residents have raised cattle, horses, ostriches and other animals, and Indians gathered acorns and traded seashells with tribes to the east. Roger Showley,, "Jamul-Rancho San Diego: Historic rancho served as seashell trading post, hosts new casino," 22 June 2018 Built-in dining room cupboards and living room pocket doors are solid oak, detailed with intricate floral carvings of oak leaves and acorns around their borders. Chicago Tribune,, "Algren Award runner-up: "Here Is Where the Taxi Driver Set His Wife on Fire" by GKS Waller," 2 June 2018 Fewer oak trees mean fewer acorns for wildlife to eat. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Salvaging White Oaks Lost To Gypsy Moth Devastation," 21 May 2018 Hers features an acorn—a symbol for the oak trees of her hometown, which also convey growth and strength. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "All the Poignant Symbolism in Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s Coat of Arms," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acorn.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of acorn

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for acorn

Middle English akorn, akkorn (partially assimilated to corn "kernel, corn entry 1"), hakerne, accherne, accharne, going back to Old English æcern, going back to Germanic *akrana- (whence also Middle High German ackeran "tree nuts," Old Norse akarn, Gothic akran "fruit, produce"); akin to Old Irish írne "sloe, kernel," Welsh eirin "plums, sloes," aeron "fruits, berries," going back to Celtic *agrinyo-, *agranyo-; perhaps further akin to a Balto-Slavic word with an initial long vowel (Old Church Slavic agoda "fruit," Polish jagoda "berry," Lithuanian úoga

Note: Taken to be a derivative of Indo-European *h2eǵros "uncultivated field, pasture" (see acre), though this would seem to exclude the Balto-Slavic etymon, which lacks the suffix, from consideration. It is also not clear if fields, uncultivated or not, are the source of wild tree nuts.

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Statistics for acorn

Last Updated

22 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for acorn

The first known use of acorn was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for acorn



English Language Learners Definition of acorn

: the nut of the oak tree


\ˈā-ˌkȯrn, -kərn\

Kids Definition of acorn

: the nut of the oak tree

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Comments on acorn

What made you want to look up acorn? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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