al·​der | \ˈȯl-dər \

Definition of alder 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: 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


biographical name
Al·​der | \ˈäl-dər \

Definition of Alder (Entry 2 of 2)

Kurt 1902–1958 German chemist

Examples of alder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The riverside alder thickets are great for seeing migratory species and breeding warblers. Jill K. Robinson,, "5 places to spot birds in Half Moon Bay," 12 July 2018 Wildwood Grill Master Collection Planks and Smoking Chips ($25) Different woods—like the hickory, cherry, maple, cedar, and alder in this set—bring out different flavors. Bryan Rogala, Outside Online, "10 Products That Will Turn You Into a Grill Master," 13 July 2018 Chiffchaffs and willow warblers sing in the sallow and alder, while every leaf seems to hold a butterfly or dragonfly or hoverfly. The Economist, "Brexit is reverberating in British literature," 5 July 2018 Southerners burn hickory; Californians use almond wood; Pacific Northwesterners burn cherry and alder. Steven Raichlen, New York Times, "Grilling Turns Back to an Ancient Fuel: Wood," 29 June 2018 The chef's kitchen features granite slab counters, knotty alder cabinets and Wolf, SubZero and Asko appliances. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "Hollywood money manager buys $3.8 million Paradise Valley mansion," 25 June 2018 Other sightings around the Cape included a worm-eating warbler in the Mashpee River woodlands, an alder flycatcher in South Truro, and five purple martins at Wellfleet Bay sanctuary., "Bird sightings on Cape Cod," 24 June 2018 Our possible species include the willow, alder, Acadian, least and yellow-bellied flycatchers. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "Willow flycatchers are maddingly difficult to identify in the field," 13 June 2018 That old yellow rope is splintering in my hands, alders scratching my arms, and a crowd of mosquitoes showed up to help. Seth Kantner, Anchorage Daily News, "We’re failing in our relationship with nature – and with each other," 9 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alder.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alder


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for alder


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

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Dictionary Entries near alder



al dente




alder blight

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Time Traveler for alder

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

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More Definitions for alder



English Language Learners Definition of alder

: a type of tree or shrub that grows in wet ground in some northern countries


al·​der | \ˈȯl-dər \

Kids Definition of alder

: a tree or shrub related to the birches that has toothed leaves and grows in moist soil

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Comments on alder

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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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