ACORN, the fruit of the oak-tree; a word also used, by ' analogy with the shape, in nautical language, for a piece of ' wood keeping the vane on the mast-head. The etymology of the ' word (earlier akerne, and acharn) is well discussed in the ' New English Dictionary. It is derived from a word (Goth. ' akran) which meant "fruit," originally "of the unenclosed ' land," and so of the most important forest produce, thc ' oak. Chaucer speaks of "achornes of okes." By degrees, ' popular etymology connected the word both with "corn" ' and "oak-horn," and the spelling changed accordingly. ' '
Initial text from 1911 encyclopedia -- Please update as needed