heath

play
noun \ˈhēth\

Definition of heath

  1. 1a :  a tract of wastelandb :  an extensive area of rather level open uncultivated land usually with poor coarse soil, inferior drainage, and a surface rich in peat or peaty humus

  2. 2a :  any of a family (Ericaceae, the heath family) of shrubby dicotyledonous and often evergreen plants that thrive on open barren usually acid and ill-drained soil; especially :  an evergreen subshrub of either of two genera (Erica and Calluna) with whorls of needlelike leaves and clusters of small flowersb :  any of various plants that resemble true heaths

heathless

play \ˈhēth-ləs\ adjective

heathlike

play \ˈhēth-ˌlīk\ adjective

heathy

play \ˈhē-thē\ adjective

Examples of heath in a Sentence

  1. not much grows on the heath besides heather

  2. drove through a vast, empty heath that seemingly had no end

Recent Examples of heath from the Web

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

What Do pagan and heathen Really Mean?

Pagan is derived from the Late Latin paganus, which was used at the end of the Roman Empire to name those who practiced a religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Early Christians often used the term to refer to non-Christians who worshiped multiple deities. In Latin, paganus originally meant “country dweller” or “civilian;” it is believed that the word’s religious meanings developed either from the enduring non-Christian religious practices of those who lived far from the Roman cities where Christianity was more quickly adopted, or from the fact that early Christians referred to themselves as “soldiers of Christ,” making nonbelievers “civilians.”

The definition and etymology of heathen overlap with those of pagan: both words denote “an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible,” and heathen, like pagan, is believed to have come from the term for a country inhabitant, or in this case, a "heath dweller."

Both words have developed broader and pejorative meanings over time, with pagan being used to mean “an irreligious or hedonistic person” and heathen “uncivilized” or “strange,” but their original meanings are still in use.

Origin and Etymology of heath

Middle English heth, from Old English hǣth; akin to Old High German heida heather, Old Welsh coit forest


First Known Use: before 12th century


Heath

play
biographical name \ˈhēth\

Definition of Heath

  1. Sir Edward (Richard George) 1916–2005 British prime minister (1970–74)



HEATH Defined for English Language Learners

heath

play
noun

Definition of heath for English Language Learners

  • : an area of land that is covered with grass and small shrubs


HEATH Defined for Kids

heath

play
noun \ˈhēth\

Definition of heath for Students

  1. 1 :  a low, woody, and often evergreen plant that grows chiefly on poor wet soil

  2. 2 :  a usually open level area of land on which heaths can grow



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

the point at which something begins

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!