- any tree of the genus Fagus, of temperate regions, having a smooth gray bark and bearing small, edible, triangular nuts.
- Also called beechwood. the wood of such a tree.
- any member of the plant family Fagaceae, characterized by trees and shrubs having alternate, usually toothed or lobed leaves, male flowers in catkins and female flowers either solitary or in clusters and bearing a nut enclosed in a cupule or bur, including the beeches, chestnuts, and oaks.
- any N temperate tree of the genus Fagus, esp F. sylvatica of Europe, having smooth greyish bark: family Fagaceae
- any tree of the related genus Nothofagus, of temperate Australasia and South America
- the hard wood of any of these trees, used in making furniture, etc
- See copper beech
Old English bece “beech,” from Proto-Germanic *bokjon (cf. Old Norse bok, Dutch beuk, Flemish boek, Old High German buohha, German Buche, Middle Dutch boeke “beech”), from PIE root *bhagos “beech tree” (cf. Greek phegos “oak,” Latin fagus “beech,” Russian buzina “elder”), perhaps with a ground sense of “edible” (and connected with the root of Greek phagein “to eat;” see -phagous). Beech mast was an ancient food source for agricultural animals across a wide stretch of Europe. Formerly with adjectival form beechen. Also see book.