any help to prove or disprove this quote or claim


Senior Member.
the wording on the picture doesn't even make sense. Tree comes from the law saying there can only be three arbors so arbors were called trees. well they wouldn't be called it in the law then would they? they would be called it to circumvent the law this is just some total nonsense.
That's apart from this wiki source on arbors/pergolas:

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Latin not french according to your link -
Probably not from Latin arbor "tree,".
Tree was old english by way of germanic -
Old English trēow, trēo : from a Germanic variant of an Indo-European root shared by Greek doru ‘wood, spear’, drus ‘oak’.


Senior Member.
the other thing is that, in ye olde days, most land was owned by a few people, the Lord of the land who lived in the manor, and there was common land, i.e owned by the manor Lord but peasants had the right to graze, fish and collect wood etc. so I don't see this old ancient law ever existing in any form whatsoever


Senior Member.
ok well if the Old English are using treo for 3 and treo for tree. I'm giving up trying to google the law!


Senior Member.
make me stop. this is impossible. theres a PLANT called "arbor treow" lol

and seems theres a thing with the old English about naming properties after trees. when you guys sort it all out, let me know : )

books.png link


Senior Member.
hmm this says ( i think)the old English in old English the word three was in fact treo.

Hmmm...a few quick searches produce nothing on my end that would support the claim of such a law.

p.s. Personally, however, I have been pronouncing it "tree-o" for years, on my excursions to Mexico...

p.p.s. I checked the see if maybe a copy could be traced to a reputable luck,
just a standard wallpaper background--called "Beautiful Farm"--occasionally used for other messages, like below. And the other "OMG Facts" claims similarly have zero documentation...sounds like a flight of fancy, to me...

Stock background called Beautiful Farm.jpg
Last edited:

Mick West

Staff member
I think that that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

While the word "tree" did start in the 800, it seem like it's just a variant of older words, going back to the Greek drys (oak). The etymology online link in the first post seems to have all the info that is needed:


Senior Member.
Hmmm...a few quick searches produce nothing on my end that would support the claim of such a law.

same conclusion here. Just spent an enjoyable hour reading up on Anglo-Saxon agriculture and laws and no reference to anything remotely connected to those claims.

I think I'll bang off an email to the history dept of my local university and see if they can confirm or deny the statement


Senior Member.
did run across a University source that kinda seems to kinda verify some of it (but not the 3 tree law). but if 3 is treow and tree is treow and erbere is abour (a kitchen orchard) not arbor, it could be a true fact from some obscure old book. ? I'm assuming a kitchen orchard would be a 'small orchard' ( for personal use).[]=2


Closed Account
But "three" doesn't come from "treow" -

Online Etymology

"þreo" is pronounced something like "threo" (I think - þ is approximated by "th") - so the 2 words have completely different roots (sic) despite being similar


Senior Member
I would also like to note (for the "record") that the use of "Ye", as example...."Ye Olde Shoppe" (ETC)....the "Ye" was pronounced as the modern
"the". (This is noted in the reference in post #15 above, page #2). Explains it well.

ALSO noted in that popular British TV show "QI" a particular episode.

(EDIT: I 'fetzed up' the URL embed, just is my repair:

Although the following video is NOT a clip from that show (Copyright? No one bothered to?? I cannot recall the exact episode at this time), here's one that is relating, and on-topic:


Senior Member.
But "three" doesn't come from "treow" -

Online Etymology

"þreo" is pronounced something like "threo" (I think - þ is approximated by "th") - so the 2 words have completely different roots (sic) despite being similar
sorry I meant treo and treo. : )


Senior Member
i bough to your forest of findings

If a bough breaks in the wind.....does it makes a noise?....that can be "heard"?? (and does it matter it it's in a forest???).

OR? If a "bough" breaks wind, does the "adage" "Who dealt it, smelt it!" still apply(??)


Senior Member
It is...."The" old shop. The extra "e"s seem to be superfluous, I'd imagine....again, once the Printing Press was invented.

(Possibly the "e" was a sort of "flourish" that embellished the hand-written cursive?).


Senior Member.
i think the extra e's are indeed superfluous, and just to look old or "olde or even auld".
Spelling was certainly not as standardized back then. Apparently Sir Walter Raleigh spelled his name loads of different ways except actually RALEIGH and considering the way some were spelled, it would appear he pronounced his name raw-lee as opposed to ra-lee.


Staff member
make me stop. this is impossible. theres a PLANT called "arbor treow" lol

and seems theres a thing with the old English about naming properties after trees. when you guys sort it all out, let me know : )

books.png link
I don't think that is what that source says. It states that the Latin arbor meant the same as the Old English trêow (i.e. tree), the Latin urtica meant O.E. netle (nettle, still seen today in the scientific name for the nettle genus, Urtica), and so on.

See here:


Those are the Old English translations of Latin names. Many of them are recognisable to botanists and gardeners today in the scientific names of plants: Buxus = box, Quercus = oak Taxus = yew, Corylus = hazel, etc etc.
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