al·​der ˈȯl-dər How to pronounce alder (audio)
: any of a genus (Alnus) of toothed-leaved trees or shrubs of the birch family that have catkins which become woody, that typically grow in cool moist ground, and that have wood used especially in turnery
also : its wood

Examples of alder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Those forests always felt a bit eerie to me, as if some damp, unfathomable energy were running from cedar to alder to Douglas fir. Jay Caspian Kang, The New Yorker, 6 Sep. 2023 Two alder flycatchers and an orchard oriole at Mount Feake Cemetery in Waltham, three more orchard orioles at Fresh Pond in Cambridge, two purple martins in Dunstable, and three red crossbills at the Squannacook River Wildlife Management Area in Shirley., 5 Aug. 2023 The Pacific Northwest is likely to see peak pollen season a month earlier because of the early pollen season of alder. Allison L. Steiner, The Conversation, 20 Apr. 2023 On top of the Dryas mats, Milner later found clumps of tiny alder and willow trees establishing themselves. Lesley Evans Ogden, Discover Magazine, 7 Apr. 2023 Anglers of his era simply stuck their rickety fly rods through alder tangles and dropped a weighted worm into a deep hole. Will Ryan, Field & Stream, 5 July 2023 Hacken recommends accenting these earthy hues with soft whites and creams, natural woods like walnut, oak, and alder, as well as unlacquered brass. Kristina McGuirk, Better Homes & Gardens, 29 June 2023 Late, uncommon migrants included Acadian flycatchers in a few places, alder and yellow-bellied flycatchers at Wing Island in Brewster, and a dark-eyed junco and a chestnut-sided warbler in Wellfleet., 28 June 2023 Deep watering is a good idea for red alder in this type of situation, but probably only needs it during major drought, like after 1.5 months with no rain. oregonlive, 18 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'alder.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Old English alor; akin to Old High German elira alder, Latin alnus

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of alder was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near alder

Cite this Entry

“Alder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


al·​der ˈȯl-dər How to pronounce alder (audio)
: any of a genus of toothed-leaved trees or shrubs related to the birches

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Al·​der ˈäl-dər How to pronounce Alder (audio)
Kurt 1902–1958 German chemist

More from Merriam-Webster on alder

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