car·​i·​bou | \ ˈker-ə-ˌbü How to pronounce caribou (audio) , ˈka-rə-\
plural caribou or caribous

Definition of caribou

: a large gregarious deer (Rangifer tarandus) of Holarctic taiga and tundra that usually has palmate antlers in both sexes used especially for one of the New World

called also reindeer

Illustration of caribou

Illustration of caribou

Examples of caribou in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Both sites are home to large numbers of migratory birds as well as caribou, polar bears, and other wildlife. Steven Mufson,, "Top Interior official who pushed to expand drilling in Alaska to join oil company there," 4 Sep. 2019 Today, the 74-acre site is home to a memorial—a bronze caribou atop a granite pyramid—commemorating soldiers of the Canadian Armed Forces, in particular those from Newfoundland who bravely served their country. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "Explore These World War I Trenches and Tunnels in France and Belgium," 25 June 2019 In Alaska such rules had prohibited the shooting of wolves and pups and hibernating bears and their cubs in their dens, using dogs and bait to hunt bears, and killing swimming caribou from motorboats. National Geographic, "In the Alaska-Yukon wilderness, wildlife crime fighters face a daunting task," 25 June 2019 With logging and other human activities and predators driving down the numbers of the south Selkirk caribou, Canadian officials captured and penned the last surviving members of the species over the winter for their protection. Ellen Knickmeyer, Twin Cities, "US government weakens application of Endangered Species Act," 12 Aug. 2019 Along with being a home for polar bears and caribou, the refuge includes nesting grounds for migratory birds from all 50 states. Washington Post, "Groups sue for information on Arctic refuge lease sale," 31 July 2019 The area is home to calving caribou, polar bears and other wildlife. New York Times, "Arctic Refuge Likely Won’t Be Surveyed Before Oil Lease Sales," 8 July 2019 Around the world, reindeer and caribou—which belong to the same species but differ in their behavior and geographic range—have plummeted by 56 percent, Jason Daley reported for Smithsonian last year. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "More Than 200 Reindeer Starved to Death in Norway," 31 July 2019 Rising air and water temperatures, shrinking ice and thawing permafrost are causing all kinds of living things—from algae and trees to fish and caribou—to expand their range, change migrations or, in some cases, struggle to survive. Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, "Special Report: Future of the Arctic," 23 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caribou.' 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 caribou

circa 1665, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caribou

Canadian French, from Micmac γalipu

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Statistics for caribou

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

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The first known use of caribou was circa 1665

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English Language Learners Definition of caribou

: a large type of deer that lives in northern parts of the world


car·​i·​bou | \ ˈker-ə-ˌbü How to pronounce caribou (audio) \

Kids Definition of caribou

: a large deer of northern and arctic regions that has antlers in both the male and female

More from Merriam-Webster on caribou

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with caribou

Spanish Central: Translation of caribou

Nglish: Translation of caribou for Spanish Speakers

Comments on caribou

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


to make a temporary encampment

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