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tree. (verb) Corner, place someone where they cannot escape, as into or up a tree; to cause to take refuge as a hunted animal.reference 1

To be treed is not the same as being captured. The direct threat to one who is treed is defeated by the refuge; death or capture must be the result of another event, such as failure of the refuge or the intervention of another force or agent, such as the hunter.

The metaphor is not always a matter of predation. In a travel article about Iceland , New York Times correspondent Mark Sundeen says, “After an hour of forging against the headwind, we realized that there was no trail to the beach. We were treed, here on this towering bluff.”reference 2The travelers were not driven to this spot from which they could not descend by anything more than their desire to get to the (now out-of-reach) beach.  No doubt it was the height of the cliffs—the feeling of being trapped aloft, as in a tree—that called forth his choice of words.

1. The Oxford English Dictionary Online. 2005. 3d ed. Accessed from

2. Sundeen, Mark. 2006. Iceland’s Ring Road: The Ultimate Road Trip. New York Times, Jun 18. Accessed Jan 4, 2008 from http:// 2006/ 06/ 18/ travel/ 18ring.html.
About the illustration: Figure 1 is from Hutchinson's Dog Encyclopaedia.reference 3 © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation. 3. Hutchinson, Walter. 1935. Hutchinson 's Dog Encyclopædia. London: Hutchinson & co. ltd.
see also: bark up the wrong tree
at bay
Last updated: March 31, 2008
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