1. 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. Also called heather.
2. An extensive tract of uncultivated open land covered with herbage and low shrubs; a moor.
[Middle English, uncultivated land, from Old English hǣth; see kaito- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.