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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A perennial woody plant having a main trunk and usually a distinct crown.
  • noun A plant or shrub resembling a tree in form or size.
  • noun Something that resembles a tree in form, especially a diagram or arrangement that has branches showing relationships of hierarchy or lineage.
  • noun Computers A structure for organizing or classifying data in which every item can be traced to a single origin through a unique path.
  • noun A wooden beam, post, stake, or bar used as part of a framework or structure.
  • noun A saddletree.
  • noun A gallows.
  • noun The cross on which Jesus was crucified.
  • transitive verb To force up a tree.
  • transitive verb Informal To force into a difficult position; corner.
  • transitive verb To supply or cover with trees.
  • idiom (up a tree) In a situation of great difficulty or perplexity; helpless.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To drive into a tree, as a hunted animal fitted for climbing, such as animals of the cat kind, racoons, opossums, and squirrels; compel to take refuge in a tree, as a man fleeing from wolves.
  • Hence, figuratively, to deprive of the power of resistance; place at the mercy of an opponent; corner.
  • To form or shape on a tree made for the particular use: as, to tree a boot.
  • To take refuge in a tree, as a hunted animal.
  • To grow to the size of a tree.
  • To take the form of a tree, or a tree-like shape, as a metal deposited from a solution of one of its salts under the action of an electric current.
  • noun In Queensland, same as bangkal.
  • noun A perennial plant which grows from the ground with a single permanent woody self-supporting trunk or stem, ordinarily to a height of at least 25 or 30 feet.
  • noun A figure resembling a tree.
  • noun A natural figuration having more or less resemblance to a tree, assumed by or appearing on the surface of some substances under certain conditions.
  • noun In mathematics, a diagram composed of branching lines.
  • noun In electrolytic cells, a formation of tree-like groups of crystals projecting from the plates. In some forms of storage batteries these tree-formations are apt to give trouble by short-circuiting the cells.
  • noun A gallows or gibbet; especially, the cross on which Christ was crucified.
  • noun The material of a tree; wood; timber.
  • noun A piece of wood; a stick; specifically, a staff or cudgel.
  • noun In mech., one of numerous pieces or framings of wood technically so called: generally in composition, but sometimes used separately in connection with an explanatory context. For those used in vehicles, see axletree, doubletree, swingletree, whiffletree, etc.; for those in ships, chess-tree, crosstree, trestletree, etc.; for others, boot-tree, saddletree, etc.
  • noun Same as arbor-vitæ, 1.
  • noun In annt., the arbor-vitæ of the cerebellum.
  • noun Synonyms Shrub, Bush, etc. See vegetable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To drive to a tree; to cause to ascend a tree.
  • transitive verb To place upon a tree; to fit with a tree; to stretch upon a tree. See Tree, n., 3.
  • noun (Bot.) Any perennial woody plant of considerable size (usually over twenty feet high) and growing with a single trunk.
  • noun Something constructed in the form of, or considered as resembling, a tree, consisting of a stem, or stock, and branches.
  • noun A piece of timber, or something commonly made of timber; -- used in composition, as in axletree, boottree, chesstree, crosstree, whiffletree, and the like.
  • noun A cross or gallows; as Tyburn tree.
  • noun obsolete Wood; timber.
  • noun (Chem.) A mass of crystals, aggregated in arborescent forms, obtained by precipitation of a metal from solution. See Lead tree, under Lead.
  • noun (Zoöl.), [Local, U. S.] the raccoon.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any one of numerous species of beetles which feed on the leaves of trees and shrubs, as the May beetles, the rose beetle, the rose chafer, and the goldsmith beetle.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any one of numerous species of hemipterous insects which live upon, and suck the sap of, trees and shrubs. They belong to Arma, Pentatoma, Rhaphigaster, and allied genera.
  • noun (Zool.) the common paradoxure (Paradoxurus musang).
  • noun (Bot.) a tall kind of melilot (Melilotus alba). See Melilot.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the purse crab. See under Purse.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any one of numerous species of arboreal creepers belonging to Certhia, Climacteris, and allied genera. See Creeper, 3.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English trēow; see deru- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English tree, tre, treo, treou, trew, trow, from Old English trēo, trēow ("tree, wood, timber, beam, log, stake, stick, grove, cross, rood"), from Proto-Germanic *trewan (“tree, wood”), from pre-Germanic *dréu̯om, thematic e-grade derivative of Proto-Indo-European *dóru (“tree”). Cognate with Scots tree ("wood, rod, stick"), North Frisian tre, trä ("tree"), Middle Dutch tree ("tree"), Danish træ ("tree"), Swedish trä ("wood"), träd ("tree"), Norwegian tre ("tree"), Icelandic tré ("tree"), Gothic  (triu, "tree, wood, piece of wood"), Albanian dru ("tree, wood"), Welsh dâr ("oaks"), Ancient Greek δόρυ (dóry, "wood, spear"), Russian дерево (derevo), Tocharian A or. Related to tar, true.


The word tree has been adopted by Linda A Pope.

Help support Wordnik by adopting your own word here.


  • Adam's excuse for eating of the forbidden fruit, "She gave me of the tree and I did eat," is said to be thus ingeniously explained by the learned Rabbis: By giving him of the _tree_ is meant that Eve took a st🔜out crab-tree cudgel, and gave her hus🌱band (in plain English) a sound rib-roasting, until he complied with her will!

  • Consequently, all _goats_ were driven from the banks of this river; but one day, Theŏclos observed that the branches of a fig tree bent into the stream, and it immediately flashed into his mind that tജhe Messenian word for _fig tree_ and _goat_ was the same.

  • The tree near the front of an ancient castle was called the🌞 _🅺Covine tree_, probably because the lord received his company there.

  • Before sailing, he wrote a letter for de Cordes, which he left buried at the foot of a tree, and nailed a board to the tree, on which was painted, _Look at the bottom of this 𝓡tree_.

  • Marry Scholer, but I would not be there, nor indeed from under this tree; for look how it begins to rain, and by the clouds (if I mistake not) we shall presently have a smoaking showre; and therefore fit close, this _Sycamore💫 tree_ will shelter us; and I will tell you, as they shall come into my mind, more observations of flie-fishing for

  • Sometimes, it is convenient to include among tree🌳s the null tree, a \ "tree\" with no nodes, which we shall represent by Λ.

  • Sometimes, it is convenient to include among trees the null tree,🅷 a \ "🌱tree\" with no nodes, which we shall represent by Λ.

  • All you know for sure on an 8in tree is the spread is greater than 8 inches.

  • All you know for sure on an 8in tree is the spread is greater than 8 inches.

  • If I'm not mistaken fig tree is Greek for military judge.


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  • If a tree falls in the forest where no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If men were poached eggs (q.v.) would they need an English muffin to♓ sit on?

    December 19, 2007

  • Little Miss Muffin, sat on a, umm ...

    July 7, 2008

  • "Raised in the woods so🌟 he knew every tree..."The Ballad of Davꦰy Crockett

    July 18, 2009

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