from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various usually low-growing shrubs of the genus Erica and other genera of the heath family, native to Europe and South Africa and having small evergreen leaves and small, colorful, urn-shaped flowers.
  • noun An extensive tract of uncultivated open land covered with herbage and low shrubs; a moor.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In Tasmania, the popular name for several species of the genus Epacris, especially E. impressa, a beautiful slender shrub bearing white or red axillary flowers. See Epacris.
  • noun Open, uncultivated land; a desert tract of land; specifically, in Great Britain, an uncultivated tract of heathy or shrubby land, usually of a desolate character.
  • noun A plant of the genus Erica, or, by extension, of the genus Calluna; any plant of the family Ericaceæ, called by Lindley heathworts.
  • noun One of several small butterflies of different genera. The large heath is Erinephile tithonus; the small, Cænonympha pamphilus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A low shrub (Erica vulgaris or Calluna vulgaris), with minute evergreen leaves, and handsome clusters of pink flowers. It is used in Great Britain for brooms, thatch, beds for the poor, and for heating ovens. It is also called heather, and ling.
  • noun Also, any species of the genus Erica, of which several are European, and many more are South African, some of great beauty. See Illust. of heather.
  • noun A place overgrown with heath; any cheerless tract of country overgrown with shrubs or coarse herbage.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the blackcock. See Heath grouse (below).
  • noun (Bot.) a kind of perennial grass, of the genus Triodia (Triodia decumbens), growing on dry heaths.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a European grouse (Tetrao tetrix), which inhabits heaths; -- called also black game, black grouse, heath poult, heath fowl, moor fowl. The male is called heath cock, and blackcock; the female, heath hen, and gray hen.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Heath grouse (above).
  • noun (Bot.) a species of bitter vetch (Lathyrus macrorhizus), the tubers of which are eaten, and in Scotland are used to flavor whisky.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a European thrush which frequents heaths; the ring ouzel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any small evergreen shrub of the genus Erica.
  • noun A tract of level uncultivated land with sandy soil and scrubby vegetation; heathland.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a low evergreen shrub of the family Ericaceae; has small bell-shaped pink or purple flowers
  • noun a tract of level wasteland; uncultivated land with sandy soil and scrubby vegetation


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, uncultivated land, from Old English hǣth; see kaito- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English hǣþ, from Proto-Germanic *haiþī, from Proto-Indo-European *kaito- (“forest”). Cognate with Albanian kath ("type of wheat"), kasht ("straw").


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  • "Not all human intervention has been as successful, however. For example, the degradation of brown earths under heath in western France is not a natural feature but the product of human clearance and grazing practices."

    January 17, 2021