chap·​ar·​ral | \ ˌsha-pə-ˈral How to pronounce chaparral (audio) , -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

It was originally called Blue Mountain, a bare hill with clumps of brush like chaparral, the center of the Mexican-era Rancho San Miguel, owned by Jose de Jesus Noe. Carl Nolte,, "Need an escape in San Francisco? A refuge beckons where you can get away from it all," 3 Aug. 2019 The fire roared through the chaparral and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, burning 88% of the park’s land, according to the National Park Service. Joe Dworetzky, Los Angeles Times, "The threatened frogs of the Santa Monica Mountains always had it hard. The Woolsey fire made things much worse," 25 July 2019 Griffin's front door opens to a view of a pool that shines over a canyon of chaparral and scrub. Jeffrey Fleishman,, "Kathy Griffin made $75 million making people laugh. But the phone’s not ringing," 22 July 2019 The area includes coastal sage scrub and mixed chaparral, which provides habitat for various mammals, reptiles and birds of prey. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "Popular trail challenge returns for a third year," 18 July 2019 Our guide led us down a steep trail through terrain similar to California chaparral, stopping to point out scary-looking tarantula nests. Matthew King, WSJ, "A Luxury Surf Vacation Where You’d Least Expect," 28 June 2019 Firefighters fought a desperate battle as huge flames came within yards of some homes, feeding on dense, dry chaparral and propelled by 20-mph (30-kph) gusts. Fox News, "Firefighters battle to curb wildfire before winds return," 10 Aug. 2018 They are often found in meadows, grasslands, chaparral and deciduous and coniferous forests. Rebecca Jepsen, The Mercury News, "Love ’em or hate ’em, snakes are good for your garden," 12 June 2019 Following years of drought and a summer of record-breaking heat, immense tracts of forests, chaparral and grasslands have become tinder that allows even a small spark to explode into a devouring blaze, authorities said. Fox News, "Back to rubble, some 'lost everything' in California fire," 2 Aug. 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

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on chaparral

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chaparral

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chaparral Encyclopedia article about chaparral

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).


to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!