General English


  • noun a deciduous or evergreen hardwood tree of which there are many species.


  • A hard, dense wood used for heavy framing, flooring, interior trim, plywood, and furniture. The two types available from mills are white oak and red oak.


  • a type of hardwood commonly used for making wine barrels that are used to store and age wine and give it distinctive flavours and tannins. The barrels start losing their ability to provide flavours and tastes after around five years, but the major vineyards producing high-quality wine replace the barrels each year.

Origin & History of “oak”

Oak is an ancient Germanic tree-name, shared by German (eiche), Dutch (eik), Swedish (ek), and Danish (eg). these point back to a common Germanic ancestor *aiks. there is no conclusive evidence of any related forms outside Germanic, however, although similarities have been noted with Greek aigílops, a term for a sort of oak tree, and Latin aesculus ‘oak sacred to Jupiter’. Despite its passing similarity, acorn is not etymologically related.

The oak was one of the commonest trees in the ancient European forests, and many terms that started out as names for it became generalized to simply ‘tree’: English tree, for instance, comes from an Indo-European ancestor that probably originally meant ‘oak’.