Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun ar·ea \ˈer-ē-ə, ˈā-rē-ə\

Simple Definition of area

  • : a part or section within a larger place

  • : a section of space within a building, room, etc.

  • : a part of the surface of something (such as a person's body or a piece of cloth)

Full Definition of area

  1. 1 :  a level piece of ground

  2. 2 :  the surface included within a set of lines; specifically :  the number of unit squares equal in measure to the surface — see metric system table, weight table

  3. 3 :  the scope of a concept, operation, or activity :  field <the whole area of foreign policy>

  4. 4 :  areaway

  5. 5 :  a particular extent of space or surface or one serving a special function: as a :  a part of the surface of the body b :  a geographic region

  6. 6 :  a part of the cerebral cortex having a particular function

ar·e·alplay \-ē-əl\ adjective
ar·e·al·lyplay \-ə-lē\ adverb

Examples of area

  1. Settlers came to this area from the east.

  2. The group visited the area during a hunting trip.

  3. in the area surrounding the lake

  4. The storm caused damage in many areas along the coast.

  5. a bird found only in remote areas of the U.S.

  6. in many areas of the world

  7. He is the metropolitan area's most popular politician.

  8. He lived in an unfashionable area of the city.

  9. She set aside a work area in the kitchen.

  10. The dining area has extra windows.

Origin of area

Latin, open space, threshing floor; perhaps akin to Latin arēre to be dry — more at arid

First Known Use: 1538

Other Weights and Measures Terms

Rhymes with area

Medical Dictionary


noun ar·ea \ˈar-ē-ə, ˈer-\

Medical Definition of area

  1. :  a part of the cerebral cortex having a particular function—see association area, motor area, sensory area

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up area? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

pince-nez spindrift duvet kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.