- n. & v.
1 a a perennial plant with a woody self-supporting main stem or trunk when mature and usu. unbranched for some distance above the ground (cf. SHRUB(1)). b any similar plant having a tall erect usu. single stem, e.g. palm tree.
2 a piece or frame of wood etc. for various purposes (shoe-tree).
3 archaic or poet. a a gibbet. b a cross, esp. the one used for Christ's crucifixion.
4 (in full tree diagram) Math. a diagram with a structure of branching connecting lines.
5 = family tree.
1 force to take refuge in a tree.
2 esp. US put into a difficult position.
3 stretch on a shoe-tree.
Phrases and idioms:
grow on trees (usu. with neg.) be plentiful. tree agate agate with treelike markings. tree calf a calf binding for books stained with a treelike design. tree-fern a large fern, esp. of the family Cyatheaceae, with an upright trunklike stem. tree frog any arboreal tailless amphibian, esp. of the family Hylidae, climbing by means of adhesive discs on its digits. tree hopper any insect of the family Membracidae, living in trees. tree house a structure in a tree for children to play in. tree line = TIMBERLINE. tree of heaven an ornamental Asian tree, Ailanthus altissima, with evil-smelling flowers. tree of knowledge the branches of knowledge as a whole. tree of life = ARBOR VITAE. tree ring a ring in a cross section of a tree, from one year's growth. tree shrew any small insect-eating arboreal mammal of the family Tupaiidae having a pointed nose and bushy tail. tree sparrow
1 Brit. a sparrow, Passer montanus, inhabiting woodland areas.
2 US a N. American finch, Spizella arborea, inhabiting grassland areas. tree surgeon a person who treats decayed trees in order to preserve them. tree surgery the art or practice of such treatment. tree toad = tree frog. tree tomato a South American shrub, Cyphomandra betacea, with egg-shaped red fruit. tree-trunk the trunk of a tree. up a tree esp. US cornered; nonplussed.
treeless adj. treelessness n. tree-like adj.
Etymology: OE treow f. Gmc
Useful english dictionary. 2012.