a. Any of various deciduous trees of the genus Fagus having smooth gray bark, alternate simple leaves, and three-sided nuts enclosed in prickly burs, including F. sylvatica of Europe and its many cultivated forms, and F. grandifolia of eastern North America.
b. The wood of any of these trees, used for flooring, containers, plywood, and tool handles.
2. See southern beech.
[Middle English beche, from Old English bēce; see bhāgo- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)beech
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.