A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1381

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1381

Oak. n.s. [ac, æc, Saxon; which, says Skinner, to shew how easy it is to play the fool, under a shew of literature, and deep researches, I will, for the diversion of my reader, derive from οἶκος, a house; the oak being the best timber for building. Skinner seems to have had Junius in his thoughts, who on this very word has shewn his usual fondness for Greek etymology, by a derivation more ridiculous than that by which Skinner has ridiculed him. Ac or oak, says the grave critick, signified among the Saxons, like robur among the Latins, not only an oak but strength, and may be well enough derived, non incommode deduci potest, from ἀλκὴ, strength; by taking the first three letters and then sinking the λ, as is not uncommon.]

The oak-tree hath male flowers, or katkins, which consist of a great number of small slender threads. The embryos, which produced at remote distances from these on the same tree, do afterwards become acorns, which are produced in hard scaly cups: the leaves are sinuated. The species are five. Miller.

He return'd with his brows bound with oak. Shakesp.

                        He lay along
Under an oak, whose antique root peeps out
Upon the brook that brawls along this wood.

No tree beareth so many bastard fruits as the oak: for besides the acorns, it beareth galls, oak apples, oak nuts, which are inflammable, and oak berries, sticking close to the body of the tree without stalk. Bacon's Nat. History.

The monarch oak, the patriarch of the trees,
Shoots rising up and spreads by slow degrees:
Three centuries he grows, and three he stays
Supreme in state; and in three more decays.

An oak growing from a plant to a great tree, and then lopped, is still the same oak. Locke.

A light earthy, stony, and sparry matter, incrusted and affixed to oak leaves. Woodward on Foss.

In the days of Homer every grove, river, fountain, and oak tree, were thought to have their peculiar deities. Odyss.

Let India boast her plants, nor envy we
The weeping amber and the balmy tree,
While by our oaks the precious loads are born,
And realms commanded which those trees adorn.

Sources: Shakespeare's As You Like It (40) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Shakespeare's Coriolanus (80) · Dryden, John (788) · Junius, Francis (23) · Locke, John (269) · Miller, Philip (58) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Skinner, Stephen (55) · Woodward, John (78)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Oak." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: August 10, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/oak/.

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