||[Jan. 1st, 2010|06:29 pm]
Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases
tree, n. [tree, trē]
-Today's word is very old, and its similarity in so many different languages reflects how important this symbol and physical object was and is. In English, modern tree is a carry-over from Middle English tree, which came from Old English treo, treow 'tree, wood.' This - along with Old Frisian and Old Norse tre, Old Saxon trio, and Gothic triu - is descended from Proto-Germanic trewan 'tree, oak.' Scholars believe that our Germanic root can be traced back to prehistoric Indo-European deru, doru 'oak' (see English druid). Other descendants of this ancient root are Albanian drusk 'oak,' Greek drys 'oak' and doru 'spear,' Old Church Slavonic drievo 'tree, wood,' Russian derevo 'tree, wood,' Polish drewno 'wood,' Lithuanian derva 'pine wood,' Old Irish daur and Welsh derwen 'oak,' Sanskrit dru 'tree, wood' and daru 'wood, log,' and Serbian drvo 'tree' and drva 'wood.' Our English word oak, to specify the type of tree, has known cognates only in the Germanic languages; any trail prior to this has so far been lost.
An oak tree