Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: oak

Definition of oak in English:


(also oak tree)
1A tree that bears acorns as fruit, and typically has lobed deciduous leaves. Oaks are common in many north temperate forests and are an important source of hard and durable wood used chiefly in construction, furniture, and (formerly) shipbuilding.
  • Genus Quercus, family Fagaceae: many species, including the deciduous Eastern white oak (Q. alba) and Eastern black oak (Q. velutina) and the evergreen live oak (Q. virginiana)
Example sentences
  • Suddenly he thought of the forest, the oak tree and the chances that she might be there.
  • I had sat on the branch of an oak tree and gazed out at the forest surrounding me.
  • It's worthy of note that the oak tree, sacred to Zeus, is the very tree which is most susceptible to be struck by lightning.
1.1A smoky flavor or aroma characteristic of wine aged in barrels made from this wood.
Example sentences
  • This is firm and smoky, with a good backbone, toasty American oak and piercing cassis fruit.
  • The wine is soft yet juicy with sweet fruit concentration, well-handled oak and a smoky, tapering finish.
  • Apart from oak, Chardonnay has many other influences on its complexity of flavours.


Old English āc, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch eik and German Eiche.


mighty (or great) oaks from little acorns grow

proverb Something of small or modest dimensions may grow into something very large or impressive.
Example sentences
  • Isn't it amazing how great oaks from little acorns grow.
  • Just as great oaks from little acorns grow, great-group goings-on emerge from small stories of selfish citizens.
  • ‘Great oaks from little acorns grow’ is an adage that is useful in looking at the unqualified success realized in the Portage County, Ohio, horticultural therapy program.



Pronunciation: /ˈōkən/
Example sentences
  • Bacterial decomposition had saturated the Vasa's oaken beams with hydrogen sulfide, which eventually created a huge reservoir of sulfur.
  • Auntie now resembles a once-magnificent oaken beam, riddled with woodworm and crumbling into its final collapse - like the country it used to so proudly represent.
  • The morning after, the cathedral's stonemason fashioned two charred oaken beams from the wreckage into a cross which became a symbol of reconciliation rather than revenge.


Example sentences
  • On a chilly, disappointing summer's day I drown my sorrows in the hefty, slightly oaky Kumala Rosé from South Africa.
  • Ten weeks in the making, this barrel-matured beer delivers an extra flavour layer of oaky and spicy notes over the regular hoppy, yeasty ones.
  • Most malt whiskies that have spent more than 20 years maturing in oak barrels taste oaky and are not suitable to be bottled as single malt (although, of course, many are).

Definition of oak in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day ingratiate
Pronunciation: ɪnˈɡreɪʃɪeɪt
bring oneself into favour with someone through flattery…