1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Acorn

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ACORN, the fruit of the oak-tree; a word also used, by analogy with the shape, in nautical language, for a piece of wood keeping the vane on the mast-head. The etymology of the word (earlier akerne, and acharn) is well discussed in the New English Dictionary. It is derived from a word (Goth. akran) which meant "fruit," originally "of the unenclosed land," and so of the most important forest produce, thc oak. Chaucer speaks of ``achornes of okes." By degrees, popular etymology connected the word both with "corn" and "oak-horn," and the spelling changed accordingly.