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 Swelling hordes of mosquitoes and parasitic insects—the botflies and warble flies whose larvae clog the muscles and breathing passages of caribou—appear earlier and persist that much later. Richard Adams Carey, WSJ, 1 Oct. 2021 This could be a boon for bird hunters who have been unable to hunt their Nelchina caribou permits. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Sep. 2021 And because people depend on terrestrial resources, whether by picking eggs or eating caribou, what happens to the sea ice impacts the human population, too. Devi Lockwood, Wired, 21 Sep. 2021 The caribou are beginning to get restless and the sandhill cranes have begun their migration. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Sep. 2021 Migrating caribou might zig instead of zag, bypassing expectant hunters. Zachariah Hughes, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Sep. 2021 Alas, the caribou vanished in the 1940s and haven't been seen since, although there are sporadic reports of sightings some 70 or 80 miles away along the Minnesota-Canada border. John Reinan, Star Tribune, 16 July 2021 But oil and gas drilling could displace the porcupine caribou, according to a report from the U.S. Geological Survey. Popular Science, 24 Nov. 2020 Such wilderness areas range from Colorado's soaring Maroon Bells to Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska, a dramatic landscape home to grizzly bears and caribou. Jen Rose Smith, CNN, 18 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for caribou

Time Traveler

The first known use of caribou was circa 1665

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Dictionary Entries Near caribou

Cariboo Mountains


Caribou Eskimo

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Statistics for caribou

Last Updated

26 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Caribou.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for caribou



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

Nglish: Translation of caribou for Spanish Speakers


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