[tree] /tri/
a plant having a permanently woody main stem or trunk, ordinarily growing to a considerable height, and usually developing branches at some distance from the ground.
any of various shrubs, bushes, and plants, as the banana, resembling a tree in form and size.
something resembling a tree in shape, as a clothes tree or a crosstree.
Mathematics, Linguistics, tree diagram.
a pole, post, beam, bar, handle, or the like, as one forming part of some structure.
a saddletree.
a treelike group of crystals, as one forming in an electrolytic cell.
a gallows or gibbet.
the cross on which Christ was crucified.
Computers. a data structure organized like a tree whose nodes store data elements and whose branches represent pointers to other nodes in the tree.
verb (used with object), treed, treeing.
to drive into or up a tree, as a pursued animal or person.
Informal. to put into a difficult position.
to stretch or shape on a tree, as a boot.
to furnish (a structure) with a tree.
up a tree, Informal. in a difficult or embarrassing situation; at a loss; stumped.
before 900; Middle English; Old English trēo(w); cognate with Old Frisian, Old Norse trē, Old Saxon treo, Gothic triu; akin to Greek drŷs oak, Sanskrit, Avestan dru wood
Related forms
treelike, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for up a tree
tree (triː)
1.  any large woody perennial plant with a distinct trunk giving rise to branches or leaves at some distance from the groundRelated: arboreal
2.  any plant that resembles this but has a trunk not made of wood, such as a palm tree
3.  a wooden post, bar, etc
4.  family tree shoetree See saddletree
5.  chem a treelike crystal growth; dendrite
6.  a.  a branching diagrammatic representation of something, such as the grammatical structure of a sentence
 b.  (as modifier): a tree diagram
7.  an archaic word for gallows
8.  archaic the cross on which Christ was crucified
9.  at the top of the tree in the highest position of a profession, etc
10.  informal (US), (Canadian) up a tree in a difficult situation; trapped or stumped
vb , trees, treeing, treed
11.  to drive or force up a tree
12.  to shape or stretch (a shoe) on a shoetree
Related: arboreal
[Old English trēo; related to Old Frisian, Old Norse trē, Old Saxon trio, Gothic triu, Greek doru wood, drus tree]

Tree (triː)
Sir Herbert Beerbohm. 1853--1917, English actor and theatre manager; half-brother of Sir Max Beerbohm. He was noted for his lavish productions of Shakespeare

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin and History for up a tree
O.E. treo, treow "tree" (also "wood"), from P.Gmc. *trewan (cf. O.Fris. tre, O.S. trio, O.N. tre, Goth. triu), from PIE *deru-/*doru- "oak" (cf. Skt. dru "tree, wood," daru "wood, log;" Gk. drys "oak," doru "spear;" O.C.S. drievo "tree, wood;" Serb. drvo "tree," drva "wood;" Rus. drevo "tree, wood;" Czech drva; Pol. drwa "wood;" Lith. derva "pine wood;" O.Ir. daur, Welsh derwen "oak," Albanian drusk "oak"). Importance of the oak in mythology is reflected in the recurring use of words for "oak" to mean "tree." In O.E. and M.E., also "thing made of wood," especially the cross of the Crucifixion and a gallows (cf. Tyburn tree, gallows mentioned 12c. at Tyburn, at junction of Oxford Street and Edgware Road, place of public execution for Middlesex until 1783). Sense in family tree first attested 1706; verb meaning "to chase up a tree" is from 1700. Tree-hugger, contemptuous for "environmentalist" is attested by 1989.
"Minc'd Pyes do not grow upon every tree,
But search the Ovens for them, and there they be."
["Poor Robin," Almanack, 1669]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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up a tree in Science
Any of a wide variety of perennial plants typically having a single woody stem, and usually branches and leaves. Many species of both gymnosperms (notably the conifers) and angiosperms grow in the form of trees. The ancient forests of the Devonian, Mississippian, and Pennsylvanian periods of the Paleozoic Era were dominated by trees belonging to groups of seedless plants such as the lycophytes. The strength and height of trees are made possible by the supportive conductive tissue known as vascular tissue.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for up a tree

up a tree

adjective phrase

In a predicament; faced with a dilemma; helpless (1825+)

Dictionary of American Slang
Copyright © 1986 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Idioms and Phrases with up a tree

up a tree

In a difficult situation, as in They found the drugs in his suitcase, so he was up a tree. This expression alludes to an animal, such as a raccoon or squirrel, that climbs a tree for refuge from attackers, which then surround the tree so it cannot come down. [Colloquial; early 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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