[AS.] The name of a noble genus of trees, sometimes styled the monarch of the woods. A large proportion of forest trees are oaks, of which there are about 300 different kinds, spread over nearly the whole of the northern hemisphere, except the extreme north. Some oaks shed their leaves every year, and some are evergreens, and the leaves are alternate, but often variously lobed. The timber of the oak is hard and tough, and has been used from the very earliest times as the best material for shipbuilding. It is also employed in architecture, cabinetmaking, mill-work, and coopering, and the bark is used in tanning and dyeing. It bears a well-known nut, called the acorn, which is contained in a small woody cup.