chap·​ar·​ral | \ˌsha-pə-ˈral, -ˈrel\

Definition of chaparral 

1 : a thicket of dwarf evergreen oaks broadly : a dense impenetrable thicket of shrubs or dwarf trees

2 : an ecological community composed of shrubby plants adapted to dry summers and moist winters that occurs especially in southern California

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of chaparral in a Sentence

the rabbit darted into the chaparral

Recent Examples on the Web

The chaparral had grown as tall as 10 feet and was nearly impenetrable in places, according to fire officials. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Granite Mountain Hotshots: An untold story from the day 19 firefighters died," 23 June 2018 Fall and spring itineraries begin in Prescott, with cyclists traveling through the chaparral, piñon, juniper and ponderosa forests to the 54-mile Skull Valley Loop cycling challenge. Rosemary Mcclure,, "It's all about the red rocks on Northern Arizona biking adventure," 30 May 2018 In the 1970s Saucelito Canyon’s Bill Greenough restored the vines, which had been overgrown by dense chaparral. Matt Jaffe, Los Angeles Magazine, "San Luis Obispo Has Ocean Breezes—and Two Wine Regions," 27 Apr. 2018 Nearly 2,000 miles of rivers, desert, chaparral and fencing separate the United States and Mexico, and a wall advocated by President Donald Trump could soon be built along some parts of the border. Daniel Wheaton,, "Border Overview," 14 Mar. 2018 The lakes, Crystal Springs, San Andreas and Pilarcitos, are surrounded by 23,000 acres of woodlands and chaparral. Bill Van Niekerken, San Francisco Chronicle, "Hetch Hetchy water’s long trip from Sierra to San Francisco," 6 Mar. 2018 This is a vehicle that validates the rugged individualist who, ready for adventure and desperate for authenticity, may never leave Highland Avenue for the high chaparral. Charles Fleming,, "2018 Jeep Wrangler is a rough rider, on and off the pavement," 2 Mar. 2018 In certain vegetation types, like chaparral and coniferous forests, fires will vaporize organic compounds found in the leaf litter. Lee Macdonald, Washington Post, "Those deadly mudslides you’ve read about? Expect worse in the future.," 20 Jan. 2018 Wildfires in December charred much of the hills in the area, burning the chaparral all along the foothills. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Trump administration is trying to sell natural gas to African countries president disparaged," 17 Jan. 2018

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

1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chaparral

Spanish, from chaparro dwarf evergreen oak, from Basque txapar

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chaparral

Statistics for chaparral

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chaparral

The first known use of chaparral was in 1845

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for chaparral



English Language Learners Definition of chaparral

: an area of dry land especially in southern California that is covered with bushes and short trees

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on chaparral

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


full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!