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 The kitchen is mostly free-standing components in old-fashioned quarter-sawn oak. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Vintage Victorian in Chelsea was cut up, made into apartments. Now it's been restored.," 20 June 2020 People are tired of the yellowish oak cabinets that were popular in the 1990s. Julie Washington, cleveland, "Paint a room, build a fire pit, string solar lights: More stay-at-home projects for summer," 17 June 2020 In the spring, emerging females lay eggs in opening oak buds. oregonlive, "Ask an expert: Conifers in containers need special care," 13 June 2020 Charles Krug soon became known for quality and innovations in the cellar, thanks to the work of the two Mondavi sons, Robert and Peter, who introduced techniques like cold fermentations and oak-barrel aging. Virginie Boone, SFChronicle.com, "Charles Krug: Drink in the history at Napa’s Valley’s oldest tasting room," 9 June 2020 Offered by Allie Beth Allman, the three-bedroom estate features a limestone exterior, reclaimed oak flooring and 100-year-old ceiling beams. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Firm sells most estates in Dallas County, per MLS," 7 June 2020 The cottage sits among the large oak trees on the Boys and Girls campus. Houston Chronicle, "Empire Communities, vendors complete construction of HomeAid Project," 6 June 2020 Levi Charles’ table is shaded by an Emory oak and other canyon flora. Debra Utacia Krol, azcentral, "Who's not getting COVID-19 aid? Native American entrepreneurs who may need it most," 6 June 2020 Wooded behemoths around the world, like the 1,000-year-old oak trees seen above in western Germany, are in trouble. National Geographic, "Why science matters in a tough time," 3 June 2020

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

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oak.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oak. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for oak


How to pronounce oak (audio)

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

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