[ey-kawrn, ey-kern]


the typically ovoid fruit or nut of an oak, enclosed at the base by a cupule.
a finial or knop, as on a piece of furniture, in the form of an acorn.

Origin of acorn

before 1000; Middle English acorne (influenced by corn1), replacing akern, Old English æcern, æcren mast, oak-mast; cognate with Old Norse akarn fruit of wild trees, Middle High German ackeran acorn, Gothic akran fruit, yield < Germanic *akrana-; alleged derivation from base of acre is dubious if original reference was to wild trees
Related formsa·corned, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for acorn

Contemporary Examples of acorn

Historical Examples of acorn

  • Mush of acorn meal which I had left in my pot had been eaten.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • Having planted their acorn, they expect to see it grow into an oak at once.


    Samuel Smiles

  • We see the acorn grow into the oak, the egg into the bird, the maggot into the butterfly.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Is the acorn better than the oak which is its fulness and completion?

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • In another variant it is an acorn which is sown under the floor.

    Russian Fairy Tales

    W. R. S. Ralston

British Dictionary definitions for acorn



the fruit of an oak tree, consisting of a smooth thick-walled nut in a woody scaly cuplike base

Word Origin for acorn

C16: a variant (through influence of corn) of Old English æcern the fruit of a tree, acorn; related to Gothic akran fruit, yield
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

Word Origin and History for acorn

Old English æcern "nut," common Germanic (cf. Old Norse akarn, Dutch aker, Low German ecker "acorn," German Ecker, Gothic akran "fruit"), originally the mast of any forest tree, and ultimately related (via notion of "fruit of the open or unenclosed land") to Old English æcer "open land," Gothic akrs "field," Old French aigrun "fruits and vegetables" (from a Germanic source); see acre.

The sense gradually restricted in Low German, Scandinavian, and English to the most important of the forest produce for feeding swine, the mast of the oak tree. Spelling changed 15c.-16c. by folk etymology association with oak (Old English ac) and corn (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper