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

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 No leaves have returned, although other oak trees in my front yard have produced new leaves and look healthy. Neil Sperry, San Antonio Express-News, 4 June 2021 To build the freeway, the state cleared more than 200 oak trees. Calvin Mackie, Forbes, 3 June 2021 When the birds forget, and the conditions are right, some of those acorns become oak trees. Scott Sandell, Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2021 Breitenecker spends most of his time on a sun porch surrounded by tall oak trees and horses. Isabel Seliger, ProPublica, 29 May 2021 Then, in the late 1960s, a federal infrastructure initiative brought the bustling street’s dominance to an abrupt end, with an elevated freeway replacing the oak trees and buildings that had once lined the avenue. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 May 2021 In the mid-1960s, the oak trees were ripped out to make way for the highway, cleaving the neighborhood in two. New York Times, 27 May 2021 Miles of unpaved hiking, biking and equestrian trails are hidden in this large urban park, providing solitude among the mature oak trees. Dallas News, 24 May 2021 Massive oak trees are not meant to be moved even 600 feet. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, 19 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for oak

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for oak

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oak.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oak. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on oak

Nglish: Translation of oak for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oak for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oak


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