plural oaks or oak
often attributive
: 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
: the tough hard durable wood of an oak tree
: the leaves of an oak used as decoration

Illustration of oak

Illustration of oak
  • 1 acorn
  • 2 leaf

Examples of oak in a Sentence

Tall oaks line the street. The table is solid oak. The cabinets are made of oak.
Recent Examples on the Web The core range includes 12- and 18-year-old single malts, as well as a non-age-statement whisky finished in virgin oak casks for up to a year. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 22 Nov. 2023 Their favorite hangout spots — the city’s river port and an oak grove — were hit by strikes and began to sow anxiety rather than comfort. Danylo, described by his friends as sensitive, began to avoid the news. Serhii Korolchuk, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2023 The brand launched with three flavors: sparkling tequila with lime shiso, sparkling tequila with oak smoked lemonade, and sparkling bourbon with apple ginger sour cherry. Antonia Debianchi, Peoplemag, 21 Nov. 2023 Homes built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, particularly in the Arts and Crafts or Victorian styles, often feature a wealth of oak woodwork stained or varnished to produce a medium brown or honey gold. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Nov. 2023 Shrubs of the chaparral have vastly different needs from those located in a central oak woodland or northern coastal scrub, so look up your personalized plant community online by Zip Code to identify the key plants that will take to your area with ease. Kristin Guy, Sunset Magazine, 14 Nov. 2023 The spot was in a hardwood bottom with plenty of oak trees dropping acorns, and Rickey blind grunted and rattled to try and draw the enormous buck into gun range. Outdoor Life, 8 Nov. 2023 The oak tree curled along the red fire escape that led to the workshop from a back entrance. Hazlitt, 8 Nov. 2023 Advertisement The oak is of extreme importance to the tribe, and 44 acres of land surrounding it has been designated as a sacred site by the Native American Heritage Commission. Louis Sahagún, Los Angeles Times, 6 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oak.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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).

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near oak

Cite this Entry

“Oak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural oaks or oak
: any of various trees or shrubs closely related to the beeches and chestnuts and producing acorns
: the tough hard wood of the oak much used for furniture and flooring
oaken adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on oak

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