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[beech] /bitʃ/
any tree of the genus Fagus, of temperate regions, having a smooth gray bark and bearing small, edible, triangular nuts.
Also called beechwood. the wood of such a tree.
any member of the plant family Fagaceae, characterized by trees and shrubs having alternate, usually toothed or lobed leaves, male flowers in catkins and female flowers either solitary or in clusters and bearing a nut enclosed in a cupule or bur, including the beeches, chestnuts, and oaks.
Origin of beech
before 900; Middle English beche, Old English bēce < Germanic *bōkjōn-; akin to Old Saxon, Middle Low German boke, Dutch beuk, Old High German buohha (German Buche), Old Norse bōk, Latin fāgus beech, Doric Greek phāgós, Albanian bung oak (apparently not akin to book)
Related forms
beechen, adjective
beechy, adjective
Can be confused
beach, beech. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for beech
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I have known them to nest on hemlock mast alone in Pennsylvania, and in Michigan on the pine mast after the beech mast was gone.

  • And somehow they got the notion that the beech tree belonged to them—and to nobody else.

    The Tale of Grunty Pig Arthur Scott Bailey
  • For three years we made whisky in a cave on the bank of the beech Fork, about six miles from here.

    The Cave by the Beech Fork Henry S. Spalding
  • I might have supposed he was in love with my beech; yet he has not asked my permission to marry it.

    Samuel Brohl & Company Victor Cherbuliez
  • Most lovely was the drive for miles through Ashburnham beech and pine woods and by its old timber-yard.

    The Story of My Life, volumes 4-6 Augustus J. C. Hare
  • There was just light enough for her to see the pathway through the beech clump.

    Beyond John Galsworthy
  • The gates, especially the one of the beech avenue, had always been such friends of hers, she knew and loved each crack.

    Halcyone Elinor Glyn
  • I had not thought of beech or sycamore, but they are now sown.

  • He preferred the beech woods to the cultivated fields, the trap line or woodsman's ax to the plow.

    Double Challenge James Arthur Kjelgaard
British Dictionary definitions for beech


any N temperate tree of the genus Fagus, esp F. sylvatica of Europe, having smooth greyish bark: family Fagaceae
any tree of the related genus Nothofagus, of temperate Australasia and South America
the hard wood of any of these trees, used in making furniture, etc
Derived Forms
beechen, beechy, adjective
Word Origin
Old English bēce; related to Old Norse bók, Old High German buohha, Middle Dutch boeke, Latin fāgus beech, Greek phēgos edible oak
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beech

Old English bece "beech," from Proto-Germanic *bokjon (cf. Old Norse bok, Dutch beuk, Flemish boek, Old High German buohha, German Buche, Middle Dutch boeke "beech"), from PIE root *bhagos "beech tree" (cf. Greek phegos "oak," Latin fagus "beech," Russian buzina "elder"), perhaps with a ground sense of "edible" (and connected with the root of Greek phagein "to eat;" see -phagous). Beech mast was an ancient food source for agricultural animals across a wide stretch of Europe. Formerly with adjectival form beechen. Also see book.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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