noun, often attributive
\ ˈōk How to pronounce oak (audio) \
plural oaks or oak

Definition of oak

1a : any of a genus (Quercus) of trees or shrubs of the beech family that produce acorns also : any of various plants related to or resembling the oaks
b : the tough hard durable wood of an oak tree
2 : the leaves of an oak used as decoration

Illustration of oak

Illustration of oak

oak 1a: 1 acorn, 2 leaf

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Other Words from oak

oaken \ ˈō-​kən How to pronounce oaken (audio) \ adjective

Examples of oak in a Sentence

Tall oaks line the street. The table is solid oak. The cabinets are made of oak.
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Recent Examples on the Web

At home in Bethesda, his wife Penne tied a yellow ribbon around the oak tree in their front yard, a symbol of vigilance and remembrance that was duplicated by tens of thousands of families across the country. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Bruce Laingen, top-ranking U.S. diplomat held in Iran hostage crisis, dies at 96," 17 July 2019 A hundred yards on there is a magnificent oak tree, which the notorious California bandit Tiburcio Vasquez was said to have used to watch for his enemies. Charles Fleming, latimes.com, "L.A. Walks: Explore an old winery site on a La Crescenta ramble," 12 July 2019 In one Escondido neighborhood, that meant an overgrown oak tree next to a group of mailboxes. San Diego Union-Tribune en Español, "Nature takes its course: Bees flourish after heavy rains, keeping removal companies busy," 9 July 2019 Potential buyers will appreciate the large oak trees, lush native plantings, stone barbecue, hot tub, and mountain views. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Cute 1946 cottage in Santa Barbara asks $2.9M," 27 June 2019 The latest salvo in the battle erupted June 11 when three more oak trees came down. Jennifer Fisher, chicagotribune.com, "Felling old oaks riles Park Ridge neighbors," 24 June 2019 For the past two years the vultures’ home base has been in an old oak tree on Sixth Avenue between Grant and Francis strreets. John Spina, The Denver Post, "Longmont residents sick of nasty, vomiting turkey vultures," 21 June 2019 The 11 hiking trails range from easy to very rugged and showcase beech, tulip and oak trees, a pond, Sugar Creek, sandstone cliffs, waterfalls and the Pine Hill Nature Preserve. Kellie Hwang, Indianapolis Star, "10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis," 21 June 2019 His drive found the fairway — but settled right at the base of the oak tree that impedes the occasional tee shot like a miniature golf obstacle writ large. Chris Brodeur, courant.com, "Is TPC River Highlands a cushy landing spot for PGA pros after the grind of a U.S. Open? It’s not that simple," 18 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oak.' 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 oak

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for oak

Middle English ook, oke, going back to Old English āc, going back to Germanic *eik- (whence also Old Frisian ēk "oak," Old Saxon ēc, Old High German eih, eihha, Old Norse eik), of obscure origin

Note: Old English āc is a feminine root noun (dative singular and nominative plural ǣc), though forms leveled to other declensions with umlaut are already evident. Germanic *eik- has been compared with the Greek words aigílōps, a name in Theophrastus for a species of oak (Quercus macrolepis?), and krátaigos, a species of hawthorn (also in Theophrastus), but interpretation of the conjoined elements of these words is conjectural (lṓpē is not actually attested in the sense "cork" or "bark"). The derivation of Latin aesculus "a species of oak (Quercus petraea?)" is obscure. The Lithuanian dialect forms áižuols and áužuolas "oak," superficially comparable, are hypercorrections of ą́žuolas, which is very unlikely to be related to *eik- (cf. Old Prussian ansonis = German eche in the Elbing Vocabulary).

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Dictionary Entries near oak

Oahe, Lake




oak apple

oak beauty

oak blight

Statistics for oak

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for oak

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

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More Definitions for oak



English Language Learners Definition of oak

: a type of tree that grows in northern parts of the world and that produces acorns
: the wood of an oak tree


\ ˈōk How to pronounce oak (audio) \

Kids Definition of oak

: a tree or shrub that produces acorns and has tough wood much used for furniture and flooring

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More from Merriam-Webster on oak

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oak

Spanish Central: Translation of oak

Nglish: Translation of oak for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oak for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oak

Comments on oak

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


something desired as essential

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