car·​i·​bou | \ˈker-ə-ˌbü, 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

These changes will negatively affect the caribou, fish, birds and other wildlife directly through habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, industrial disturbance and contamination, during the life of the mines and for centuries thereafter… . Anchorage Daily News, "Village of Kotzebue opposes Ambler road," 16 Apr. 2018 Holt says the owls will also harass domestic dogs, caribou, polar bears—even people. National Geographic, "Arctic Fox and Snowy Owl Filmed Doing Strange 'Dance'—But Why?," 10 Jan. 2018 The caribou sensed no immediate danger and were going about their business. Anchorage Daily News, "Photography isn’t hunting, but it brings its own rewards in Alaska’s outdoors," 27 June 2018 But the caribou have not shifted their migration as quickly. New York Times, "5 Plants and Animals Utterly Confused by Climate Change," 4 Apr. 2018 One such group, the Dorset—known in Inuit oral tradition as the Tunit—were rumored to have been so strong the men could outrun caribou and drag a 1,700-kilogram walrus across the ice. Krista Langlois, Smithsonian, "Why Scientists Are Starting to Care About Cultures Who Talk to Whales," 6 Apr. 2018 Bring a pack raft to float the Kobuk River, or venture to Onion Portage, a National Historic Landmark where indigenous people have gathered for 9,000 years to harvest caribou. Megan Michelson, Outside Online, "6 Under-the-Radar National Parks You Should Visit," 20 June 2018 Supporters say oil production from the refuge will support the Alaska economy and national security, while critics say development will harm the region and wildlife such as migrating caribou. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Public meetings on ANWR drilling set, from Alaska villages to D.C.," 10 May 2018 This relates to the conundrum of the swimming caribou and of course the bears have not commented on the issue. James Freeman, WSJ, "Bacon, Doughnuts Pose New Health Risks for Alaska’s Bears," 23 May 2018

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

1 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for caribou

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 \

Kids Definition of caribou

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

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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

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a knickknack or trinket

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