Definition of oak in English:

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Pronunciation: /əʊk/


1 (also oak tree) A large tree which bears acorns and typically has lobed deciduous leaves. Oaks are dominant in many north temperate forests and are an important source of durable timber used in building, furniture, and (formerly) ships.
  • Genus Quercus, family Fagaceae: many species, including the deciduous common (or English) oak (Q. robur), and the evergreen holm oak.
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.
1.1 [mass noun] A smoky flavour or nose characteristic of wine aged in barrels made from oak wood: scents of toasty oak [as modifier]: soft oak overtones
More 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.
1.2chiefly Australian Used in names of other trees or plants that resemble the oaks in some way, e.g. she-oak, silky oak.
Example sentences
  • For fall color, Bauer has planted sugar maples and scarlet oaks among the native trees.
  • Johnson helped shovel a final layer of soil around a newly planted willow oak.
  • The most widely used common name for Casuarinaceae species is sheoak or she-oak.
2 (the Oaks) An annual flat horse race for three-year-old fillies run on Epsom Downs, over the same course as the Derby. It was first run in 1779.
Named after a nearby estate
2.1 [usually with modifier] A flat horse race similar to the Oaks but run on another course: the Irish Oaks
More example sentences
  • The other classic races are The Derby and The Oaks, at Epsom Downs, and the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
  • The champion, who won both Epsom's Derby and its Oaks, is riding with his customary brilliance and resolve.
  • He has a contract with the Jockey Club, both as a registered owner and by virtue of having entered his horse in the Oaks.



great oaks from little acorns grow

proverb Something of small or modest proportions 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.

sport the (or one's) oak

British (In certain universities) shut the outer door of one’s room as a sign that one does not wish to be disturbed.
Such outer doors were formerly of oak



Pronunciation: /ˈəʊkən/
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.


adjective (oakier, oakiest)
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).


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

  • The name of the oak is related to Latin aesculus, a word for a species of oak sacred to the Roman god Jupiter. Oak was traditionally used in shipbuilding, which gave the 18th-century actor David Garrick the line for a song about the British navy, ‘Heart of oak are our ships’. The Oaks is the name of an annual flat horse race for three-year-old fillies run on Epsom Downs, over the same course as the Derby. It was first run in 1779 and was named after a nearby estate, presumably distinguished for its oak trees. See also acorn

Words that rhyme with oak

awoke, bespoke, bloke, broke, choke, cloak, Coke, convoke, croak, evoke, folk, invoke, joke, Koch, moke, okey-doke, poke, provoke, revoke, roque, smoke, soak, soke, spoke, stoke, stony-broke (US stone-broke), stroke, toke, toque, woke, yoke, yolk

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