General English


  • noun a hardwood tree.
  • noun a grey or black powder formed of minerals left after an organic substance has been burnt


  • A sturdy, long-grained hardwood with excellent bending qualities. This wood is used in veneers, trim, and flooring.


  • acronym forAction on Smoking and Health
    (written as ASH)
  • noun an international organisation which promotes the rights of non-smokers.

Origin & History of “ash”

there are two distinct words ash in English: ash the tree and ash ‘burnt material’. The tree (Old English æsc) comes from a prehistoric Germanic *askiz, which in turn derived from the Indo-European base *os-; this was the source of several tree-names in other Indo-European languages, not all of them by any means corresponding to the ash: Latin ornus, for instance, meant ‘elm’, and Albanian ah is ‘beech’. Ash as in ‘cigarette ash’ is a descendant of Old English æsce. It has cognate forms in other Germanic languages (German asche, Dutch asch, Swedish aska), pointing to a prehistoric Germanic *azgon, which may be related to the Latin verbs ārēre ‘be dry’ (source of English arid) and ārdēre ‘burn’ (source of English ardent, ardour, and arson).