bio·​mass | \ ˈbī-ō-ˌmas \

Definition of biomass

1 : the amount of living matter (as in a unit area or volume of habitat)
2 : plant materials and animal waste used especially as a source of fuel

Examples of biomass in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The finished logs are then usually hauled by truck to a commercial timber mill or shipped to a biomass plant to be converted into energy, said Mr. Edelson of the Nature Conservancy. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "Facing Deadlier Fires, California Tries Something New: More Logging," 17 Nov. 2018 According to National Geographic, stunning new calculations show that in the Arctic tundra, arctic wolf spiders outweigh arctic wolves in biomass by a ratio of 80 to 1. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "Arctic Wolf Spiders Are Getting Bigger and It Could Slow Part of Climate Change," 24 July 2018 Wood emissions The opposition campaign has highlighted the absence of carbon fees on paper and pulp mills, and a Kettle Falls biomass power plant. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Who would pay a state carbon fee on November ballot, and who gets a pass?," 17 Sep. 2018 But the notion that biomass is carbon neutral is contentious among scientists. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Why Scott Pruitt's decision on burning wood is so high stakes," 24 Apr. 2018 The biomass, or mass of fish found in this area worldwide, is equivalent to a hundred times the Earth’s global catch of seafood, according to the New York Times. Brian J. Skerry, National Geographic, "Why Great White Sharks Hang Out in Warm Whirlpools," 19 June 2018 Humans only add up to about one ten-thousandth of the life on Earth, measured by the dry weight of the carbon that makes up the structure of all living things, also known as biomass. Seth Borenstein,, "The weight of the world: Pound for pound, humans just a tiny sliver of life," 22 May 2018 And although 2017 assessments by the U.S. Geological Survey found alewife biomass to be lowest on record (by bottom trawl) and fourth-lowest (by acoustic testing), the key forage fish is showing up on anglers' graphs and in salmon stomachs. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Larger salmon spicing up Lake Michigan catches this year," 23 June 2018 The first is bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration (BECCS), which involves burning biomass (plants or biowaste) in a thermal power plant, capturing CO2 from the exhaust stream, and burying the CO2. David Roberts, Vox, "Sucking carbon out of the air won’t solve climate change," 14 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of biomass

1931, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about biomass

Statistics for biomass

Last Updated

23 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for biomass

The first known use of biomass was in 1931

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for biomass


bio·​mass | \ -ˌmas \

Medical Definition of biomass

: the amount of living matter (as in a unit area or volume of habitat)

More from Merriam-Webster on biomass

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with biomass Encyclopedia article about biomass

Comments on biomass

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


someone who never drinks alcohol

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!