AskDefine | Define chestnut

Dictionary Definition

chestnut adj : used of hair; of a golden brown to reddish brown color; "a chestnut horse"; "chestnut hair"


1 wood of any of various chestnut trees of the genus Castanea
2 any of several attractive deciduous trees yellow-brown in autumn; yield a hard wood and edible nuts in a prickly bur [syn: chestnut tree]
3 edible nut of any of various chestnut trees of the genus Castanea
4 a small horny callus on the inner surface of a horse's leg
5 a dark golden-brown or reddish-brown horse

User Contributed Dictionary




chestnut (plural: chestnuts)
  1. A tree or shrub of the genus Castanea.
  2. The nut of this tree or shrub.
  3. A dark, reddish-brown colour/color.
    chestnut colour:   
  4. A reddish-brown horse.
  5. The wood of a chestnut tree.
  6. (Often "old chestnut") a worn-out meme; a work so often repeated as to have grown tiresome.
  7. A part of a horse found on the inner leg, similar to a birthmark on a human.



tree See chestnut tree
nut colour/color horse wood


chestnut (no or )
  1. (colour) of a deep reddish brown colour, like that of a chestnut.

Extensive Definition

"Chinkapin" and "Chinquapin" redirect here; for other uses see Chinkapin (disambiguation) and Chinquapin (disambiguation).
Chestnut (Castanea), including chinkapin, is a genus of eight or nine species of deciduous trees and shrubs in the beech family Fagaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The name also refers to the edible nuts they produce.
Most of the species are large trees growing to 20-40 m tall, but some species (the chinkapins) are smaller, often shrubby. The leaves are simple, ovate or lanceolate, 10-30 cm long and 4-10 cm broad, with sharply pointed, widely-spaced teeth, with shallow rounded sinuses between. The flowers are catkins, produced in mid summer; they have a heavy, unpleasant odour. The fruit is a spiny cupule 5-11 cm diameter, containing one to seven nuts.
The name Castanea comes from the old Latin name for the Sweet Chestnut.
Chestnuts should not be confused with either Horse-chestnuts (family Sapindaceae; also called "buckeye"), or water-chestnuts (family Cyperaceae); both are so named for producing superficially similar nuts.


Chestnut trees thrive on neutral and acidic soils, such as soils derived from granite, sandstone, or schist, and do not grow well on alkaline soils such as chalk. The wood of the Sweet Chestnut is most commonly used in small items where durability is important, such as fencing and wooden outdoor cladding ('shingles') for buildings. In Italy, it is also used to make barrels used for aging balsamic vinegar.
The bark was also a useful source of natural tannins, used for tanning leather before the introduction of synthetic tannins.


Chestnuts grown for nut production are grown in orchards with wide spacing between the trees to encourage low, broad crowns with maximum exposure to sunshine to increase nut production. On alkaline soils, chestnuts can be grown by grafting them onto oak rootstocks. Most wood production is done by coppice systems, cut on a 12 year rotation to provide small timber which does not split as badly as large logs.
Chestnuts for planting require storage in moist sand and chilling over the winter before sowing; drying kills the seed and prevents germination.

Artistic references

  • The jazz standard "April in Paris" begins, "April in Paris / Chestnuts in blossom."
  • In the Polish film, Ashes and Diamonds, two characters reminisce about the chestnut trees that once lined a famous boulevard destroyed in the Warsaw Uprising.
  • "The Christmas Song" begins with the phrase "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire." Nat King Cole's hit recording is now a Christmas standard.
  • In the movie Howards End, Mrs. Ruth Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave) tells of her childhood home, where superstitious farmers would place pigs' teeth in the bark of the chestnut trees and then chew on this bark to ease toothaches.
  • In the novel Jane Eyre, a chestnut tree outside of Thornfield Hall is broken in two by lightning. This foreshadows the break-up of Rochester and Jane's marriage.
  • The opening lines of Longfellow's poem The Village Blacksmith are "Under a spreading chestnut-tree / the village smithy stands." This famous reference is much remarked upon by those involved in projects to return the American chestnut to the wild.
  • In George Orwell's 1984 the chestnut tree is used in poems recited throughout, referring to nature, modern life and lies ie the saying; 'that old chestnut'.
chestnut in Arabic: الكستناءه
chestnut in Bulgarian: Кестен
chestnut in Catalan: Castanya
chestnut in Danish: Kastanje
chestnut in German: Kastanien
chestnut in Modern Greek (1453-): Καστανιά
chestnut in Spanish: Castanea
chestnut in Esperanto: Kastaneo
chestnut in French: Châtaigne
chestnut in Galician: Castiñeiro
chestnut in Korean: 밤나무속
chestnut in Ido: Kastano
chestnut in Italian: Castanea
chestnut in Latin: Castanea
chestnut in Dutch: Kastanje
chestnut in Japanese: クリ
chestnut in Polish: Kasztan
chestnut in Portuguese: Castanha
chestnut in Russian: Каштан
chestnut in Serbian: Питоми кестен
chestnut in Finnish: Kastanja
chestnut in Thai: เกาลัด
chestnut in Turkish: Kestane
chestnut in Ukrainian: Каштан
chestnut in Chinese: 栗

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Joe Miller, Titian, adust, auburn, banality, bay, bay-colored, bayard, brazen, bromide, bronze, bronze-colored, bronzed, brownish-red, buckskin, calico pony, carroty, castaneous, chestnut-brown, cliche, commonplace, commonplace expression, copper, copper-colored, coppery, corn, cupreous, dapple-gray, dun, erythristic, familiar tune, ferruginous, foxy, gray, grizzle, hackneyed saying, henna, joke with whiskers, lieu commun, liver-brown, liver-colored, livid-brown, locus communis, mahogany, old joke, old saw, old song, old story, old turkey, old wheeze, paint, painted pony, piebald, pinto, platitude, prosaicism, prosaism, prose, red-crested, red-haired, red-polled, red-tufted, reddish-brown, reiteration, retold story, roan, rubiginous, rufous, russet, russety, rust, rust-colored, rusty, skewbald, sorrel, stereotyped saying, sunburned, terra-cotta, trite joke, trite saying, triticism, twice-told tale, warmed-over cabbage, xanthous
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