a tract of open and uncultivated land; wasteland overgrown with shrubs.
any of various low-growing evergreen shrubs common on such land, as the common heather, Calluna vulgaris.
any plant of the genus Erica, or of the family Ericaceae.

Compare heath family.

Origin of heath

before 900; Middle English; Old English hǣth; cognate with German Heide, Old Norse heithr, Gothic haithi; akin to Welsh coed trees, wood
Related formsheath·less, adjectiveheath·like, adjective
Can be confusedhealth heath




Sir Edward (Richard George),1916–2005, British statesman: prime minister 1970–74.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heath

Contemporary Examples of heath

Historical Examples of heath

  • He went by Fulham and Putney, for the pleasure of strolling over the heath.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • They did as he said, and walked about the Heath for nearly an hour.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • There was a race-course behind the hotel on the Heath, but the races have been suppressed.

    Hampstead and Marylebone

    Geraldine Edith Mitton

  • Sir Walter, therefore, kept these back, and gave them later to Heath's Keepsake.

    Sir Walter Scott

    George Saintsbury

  • It could not have been on the side of the heath or I should have seen him.

British Dictionary definitions for heath



British a large open area, usually with sandy soil and scrubby vegetation, esp heather
Also called: heather any low-growing evergreen ericaceous shrub of the Old World genus Erica and related genera, having small bell-shaped typically pink or purple flowers
any of several nonericaceous heathlike plants, such as sea heath
Australian any of various heathlike plants of the genus Epacris : family Epacridaceae
any of various small brown satyrid butterflies of the genus Coenonympha, with coppery-brown wings, esp the large heath (C. tullia)
Derived Formsheathlike, adjectiveheathy, adjective

Word Origin for heath

Old English hǣth; related to Old Norse heithr field, Old High German heida heather



Sir Edward (Richard George). 1916–2005, British statesman; leader of the Conservative Party (1965–75); prime minister (1970–74)
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 heath

Old English hæð "untilled land, tract of wasteland," earlier "heather," influenced by Old Norse heiðr "field," from Proto-Germanic *haithiz (cf. Old Saxon hetha, Old High German heida "heather," Dutch heide "heath," Gothic haiþi "field"), from PIE *kaito "forest, uncultivated land" (cf. Old Irish ciad, Welsh coed, Breton coet "wood, forest").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper