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a. A perennial woody plant having a main trunk and usually a distinct crown.
b. A plant or shrub resembling a tree in form or size.
a. Something that resembles a tree in form, especially a diagram or arrangement that has branches showing relationships of hierarchy or lineage.
b. Computers A structure for organizing or classifying data in which every item can be traced to a single origin through a unique path.
a. A wooden beam, post, stake, or bar used as part of a framework or structure.
b. A saddletree.
4. Archaic
a. A gallows.
b. The cross on which Jesus was crucified.
tr.v. treed, tree·ing, trees
1. To force up a tree: Dogs treed the raccoon.
2. Informal To force into a difficult position; corner: the reporters finally treed the mayor.
3. To supply or cover with trees: a hillside that is treed with oaks.
up a tree Informal
In a situation of great difficulty or perplexity; helpless.

[Middle English, from Old English trēow; see deru- in Indo-European roots.]

tree′less adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


See also leaves; plants; wood.

a place where trees are grown for scientific observation, for pleasure, or both.
the cultivation of trees and shrubs for scientific, commercial, or other purposes. — arboriculturist, n.
the cultivation of citrus fruits, as lemons, oranges, etc. — citriculturist, n.
the process of stripping off or removing the cortex or outer layer.
the study of annual rings in trees to determine their age, climatic and other conditions and changes that might have affected them, etc. — dendrochronologist, n.dendrochronological, adj.
the science of tree description. — dendrographic, dendrographical, adj.
the veneration of trees. — dendrolatrous, adj.
the branch of botany that studies trees. — dendrologist, n. — dendrologic, dendrological, adj.
1. the planting of forests.
2. the state of being covered with trees, as of a tract of land.
Obsolete, the act or process of cutting away branches of trees to let light through.
a fondness or liking for forests, woods, or woodland scenery. — nemophilist, n.nemophilous, adj.
the cultivation of fruit and fruit trees.
the process of planting new trees in areas where they have been removed by cutting or destroyed by fire, disease, etc.
the cultivation of forest trees; forestry. — silviculturist, sylviculturist, n.
1. standing timber, with special reference to its value in money.
2. the right to cut such timber and its value on another’s land.
a tumor or woodlike substance on a tree or plant.
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.




  1. Apple-trees on which the apples looked like great shining soap bubbles —Hans Christian Andersen
  2. The bark hung in ribbons from the trunks like the flayed skins of living creatures —R. Wright Campbell
  3. Beeches … their beautiful bare green trunks like limbs —Elizabeth Bowen
  4. The big pine was like greenish bronze against the October sky —Ellen Glasgow
  5. (In the moonlight) the big trees around us looked as bare as gallows —John Braine
  6. The birches bend like women —Caroline Finkelstein
  7. The birches stand out … like gay banners on white poles —Erich Maria Remarque
  8. The birch trees wavered their stark shadows across it [snow] like supplicating arms —Leo Tolstoy
  9. Boughs … as rough and hornily buckled as the hands of old farmers —Margaret Laurence
  10. [Tree] branches … looked like the powerful contorted fingers of a gigantic hand —Sholem Asch
  11. The branches [of a weeping willow] were thin, like the bleached bones of a skeleton —Daphne du Maurier
  12. Cedars … black and pointed on the sky like a paper silhouette —William Faulkner
  13. Chestnut trees … their clusters of white blossoms like candelabras —Dorothea Straus
  14. Copses of hazel and alder stood like a low, petrified forest —H. E. Bates
  15. Cypresses rose like cathedral spires —Jilly Cooper
  16. Elms rich like cucumbers —Joyce Cary
  17. Evergreens as big as tents —Julia O’Faolain
  18. Evergreens … out of place [amid the other trees that change their foliage in Autumn] … like poor relations at a rich man’s feast —Jerome K. Jerome
  19. Huge hardwood trees draped with clusters of Spanish moss guarded the house from the afternoon heat like overdressed sentinels —Paul Kuttner
  20. Magnolia … its chalices of flowers like superb classical emblems —H. E. Bates
  21. Maples, burning like bonfires, pure yellow and pure red —Pamela Hansford Johnson
  22. My poplars are … like two old neighbors met to chat —Theodosia Garrison
  23. The oaks stood silent and tired, like old, worn-out seekers after pleasure, unable to keep up in this grimy, mechanized world of ours —Anthony Powell
  24. Palms … like Spanish exclamation points —Sue Grafton
  25. A pear tree glistened in bloom like a graceful drift of snow —George Garrett
  26. The pear tree lets its petals drop like dandruff on a tabletop —W. D. Snodgrass
  27. Pines … moaning like the sea —John Greenleaf Whittier
  28. Pines tossing their green manes like frightened horses —George Garrett
  29. The pines were packed like a quiver of arrows —John Farris
  30. The pine-trees roared like waves in their topmost branches, their stems creaked like the timber of ships —Katherine Mansfield
  31. A poplar covered with snow looked, in the bluish mist, like a giant in a winding sheet —Anton Chekhov
  32. Poplars like dark feathers against the green and gold sunset —Sharon Sheehe Stark
  33. The poplars stood like tall guards, attentive, at attention —Delmore Schwartz

    A week after the poet entered this in his diary as a fragment he incorporated it into a poem as follows: “The poplar stood like a rifle.”

  34. Poplars that rose above the mist were like a beach stirred by the wind —Gustave Flaubert
  35. Red maples and orange oaks, shaped like hands —Jonathan Valin
  36. The redwoods let sink their branches like arms that try to hold buckets filling slowly with diamonds —James Dickey
  37. Rows of bay trees like children’s green lollipops —Graham Masterton
  38. Saw the bare branches of a tree, like fine lace, against the blackness [of garden] —Jean Rhys
  39. The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry —Bliss Carman
  40. The shadows hung from the oak trees to the road like curtains —Eudora Welty
  41. Tall trees like towers —Carlos Baker
  42. A thick low-hanging branch sags like a wounded arm —John Rechy
  43. The tops of pines moonlit, like floating Christmas trees —Frank Conroy
  44. The tree, in full bloom, was like a huge mountain lit with candles —Alice Walker
  45. Trees against walls, flattened like spies in old movies —Lisa Ress
  46. The trees and the shrubbery seemed well-groomed and sociable, like pleasant people —Willa Cather
  47. The tree sat like a party umbrella (trunk sturdy, branches gently arching) —W. P. Kinsella
  48. Trees bent like arches —Graham Swift
  49. The trees cast still shadows like intricate black laces —H. G. Wells
  50. Trees darkening like clusters of frightened wrens —Philip Levine
  51. The trees dimmed the whiteness [of snow] like a sparse coat of hair —John Cheever
  52. The trees drooped like old men with back problems —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  53. Trees grew close and spread out like bouquets —Stephen Crane
  54. The trees have a look as if they bore sad names —Wallace Stevens
  55. Trees … hunched against the dawn sky like shaggy dark animals, like buffalo —Alice Munro
  56. A tree slender as life, and as tall —Kenneth Patchen
  57. Trees … like burnt-out torches —Oscar Wilde
  58. Trees … like fresh-painted green —Danny Santiago
  59. Trees … like prophet’s fingers —Dylan Thomas
  60. Trees like tall ships —Sharon Sheehe Stark
  61. Trees [planted 40 years ago] … now stately, like patriarchs whose wisdom lives in their mere physical presence, after all sight and mind have been feebled —Paul Horgan
  62. Trees spaced out in ordered formality … like a ballet of spinsters —W. Somerset Maugham
  63. Trees spread like green lather —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  64. Trees … spread their scant shade upon the ground like fine strands of hair —Yitzhak Shenhar
  65. The trees stood motionless and white like figures in a marble frieze —Helen Keller
  66. (In the park) the trees stood reticent as old men —Helen Hudson
  67. Trees … tall and straight as the masts of ships —Donald Hall
  68. Trees tall as mythical giants —David Ignatow
  69. Trees … vibrating headily like coins shaken in a dark money-box —Robert Culff

    See Also: VIBRATIONS

  70. The trees were beginning to put out buds like tiny wings —Helen Hudson
  71. The trees were plucked like iron bars —Wallace Stevens
  72. Trees whose branches spread like hugging, possessive arms —John Rechy
  73. Trees with branches like the groping fingers of men long dead —Loren D. Estleman
  74. Trunks like thick skirts hanging in folds —Paul Theroux
  75. Twigs grasped for the sky like frayed electrical wires —Z. Vance Wilson
  76. Willow trees … their trailing leaves hung like waterfalls in the morning air —Eudora Welty
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Collins Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
So they found a cozy place under the trees where they slept well until the morning; and Dorothy dreamed of the Emerald City, and of the good Wizard Oz, who would soon send her back to her own home again.
The time of Elizabeth was only distant from the present time by a moment of space compared with the ages which had passed since the water had run between those banks, and the green thickets swarmed there, and the small trees had grown to huge wrinkled trees in solitude.
Walking a little way back from the water's edge, toward the grove of trees, Dorothy came to a flat stretch of white sand that seemed to have queer signs marked upon its surface, just as one would write upon sand with a stick.
You are not exempt from the censure yourself, Kirby, for you make dreadful wounds in these trees where a small incision would effect the same object.
'These three trees, which I cannot see without sorrow, were planted by me on this spot when I was a youth of twenty.
Trees I would have none in it, but some thickets made only of sweet-briar and honeysuckle, and some wild vine amongst; and the ground set with violets, strawberries, and primroses.
A Man came into a Wood one day with an axe in his hand, and begged all the Trees to give him a small branch which he wanted for a particular purpose.
Numbers of those creatures were to be seen basking in the sunshine upon the thatching of the houses, and multitudes at all hours of the day showed their glittering sides as they ran frolicking between the spears of grass or raced in troops up and down the tall shafts of the cocoanut trees. But the remarkable beauty of these little animals and their lively ways were not their only claims upon my admiration.
We were off and away, and the Chatterer gave us the chase of our lives through the trees.
It was evident that the massive beast pursuing us was not built for speed, so all that I considered necessary was to gain the trees sufficiently ahead of it to enable me to climb to the safety of some great branch before it came up.
Slightly, if he had an opportunity, would blaze [cut a mark in] the trees, for instance, Curly would drop seeds, and Wendy would leave her handkerchief at some important place.
At the end of a year he had shot up a good deal, and after another year he was another long bit taller; for with fir trees one can always tell by the shoots how many years old they are.