verb (used with object), treed, tree·ing.
Origin of tree
Related Words for up a treepredicament, dilemma, embarrassment, puzzle, uncertainty, impasse, difficulty, plight, bewilderment, clutch, strait, spot, doubt, hang-up, bind, perplexity, corner, pickle, mire, chancy
- a branching diagrammatic representation of something, such as the grammatical structure of a sentence
- (as modifier)a tree diagram
verb trees, treeing or treed (tr)
Word Origin for tree
Old English treo, treow "tree" (also "wood"), from Proto-Germanic *trewan (cf. Old Frisian tre, Old Saxon trio, Old Norse tre, Gothic triu), from PIE *deru- "oak" (cf. Sanskrit dru "tree, wood," daru "wood, log;" Greek drys "oak," doru "spear;" Old Church Slavonic drievo "tree, wood;" Serbian drvo "tree," drva "wood;" Russian drevo "tree, wood;" Czech drva; Polish drwa "wood;" Lithuanian derva "pine wood;" Old Irish 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 Old English and Middle English, 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]
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]
see bark up the wrong tree; can't see the forest for the trees; talk someone's arm off (the bark off a tree); up a tree.