tree genus, Latin quercus "oak," from PIE *kwerkwu-, assimilated form of *perkwu- "oak" (see fir). Related: Quercine (adj.).
Entries linking to Quercus
According to Indo-Europeanists Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, "The semantics of the term clearly points to a connection between 'oak' and mountainous regions, which is the basis for the ancient European term applied to forested mountains" (such as Gothic fairgunni "mountainous region," Old English firgen "mountain forest," Middle High German Virgunt "mountain forest; Sudetes"). In the period 3300 B.C.E. to 400 B.C.E., conifers and birches gradually displaced oaks in northern European forests. "Hence it is no surprise that in the early history of the Germanic languages the ancient term for mountain oak and oak forest shifts to denote conifers and coniferous forests." [Thomas V. Gamkrelidze, Vjaceslav V. Ivanov, "Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans," Berlin, 1994]
c. 1300, "the light, elastic outer bark of a species of oak tree native to Iberia and North Africa, used for many purposes," from Spanish alcorque "cork sole," probably from earlier Spanish corcho, from Latin quercus "oak" (see Quercus) or cortex (genitive corticis) "bark" (see corium).
In reference to the tree itself, mid-15c. From late 14c. as "cork-soled shoe." As "cork float for a fishing line," mid-15c. Meaning "cylindrical cork stopper or bung for a bottle, etc.," 1520s. As an adjective, "made of cork," 1716.