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From Middle English heeth, heth, hethe, from Old English hǣþ (heath, untilled land, waste; heather), from Proto-Germanic *haiþī (heath, waste, untilled land), from Proto-Indo-European *kayt- (forest, wasteland, pasture). Cognate with Dutch heide (heath, moorland), German Heide (heath, moor), Norwegian hei (heath), Swedish hed (heath, moorland), Old Welsh coit (forest), Latin būcētum (pastureland, literally cow-pasture) -etum (place of, grove of).


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heath (countable and uncountable, plural heaths)

  1. A tract of level uncultivated land with sandy soil and scrubby vegetation; heathland.
    • ~1602, William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act I, scene I:
      1. Where the place?/2. Vpon the Heath/3. There to meet with Macbeth
  2. Any small evergreen shrub of the family Ericaceae.
    • 1974, GB Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, New York 2007, p. 258:
      There was nobody living in Jim's old house, and some of the windows was broken; but there was heath growing back and front.
    1. Many of the species in the genus Erica
    2. Many of the species in the genus Cassiope
    3. Both species in the genus Daboecia
    4. Any of the species in the genus Epacris, Australian heath
    5. Any of the species in the genus Leucopogon, beard heath
    6. Any of the species in the genus Phyllodoce, mountain heath
  3. (countable) Certain butterflies and moths
    1. The palearctic species of Coenonympha, a genus of brush-footed butterfly
      1. Coenonympha pamphilus, native to Europe, Asia except tropical India and Indochina, and Northern Africa, the small heath
      2. Coenonympha tullia, native to Europe, Asia except tropical India and Indochina, and North America, the large heath
    2. Melitaea athalia, the heath fritillary
    3. Semiothisa clathrata, a moth known as the latticed heath

Usage notesEdit

  • The word heaths may describe multiple disconnected heathlands.


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.