co·​ni·​fer | \ ˈkä-nə-fər How to pronounce conifer (audio) also ˈkō- \

Definition of conifer

: any of an order (Coniferales) of mostly evergreen trees and shrubs having usually needle-shaped or scalelike leaves and including forms (such as pines) with true cones and others (such as yews) with an arillate fruit

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from conifer

coniferous \ kō-​ˈni-​f(ə-​)rəs How to pronounce coniferous (audio) , kə-​ \ adjective

Did You Know?

Any of an order of trees and shrubs, conifers usually have usually needle-shaped or scale-like leaves. Conifers include forms (such as pines) with true cones and others (such as yews) that bear a fruit. There are more than 550 species of conifers, and most are evergreen trees and shrubs. They grow throughout the world (except in Antarctica) and prefer temperate climate zones. They include the world's smallest and tallest trees. Conifers supply softwood timber used for general construction, boxes and crates, and other articles, as well as pulpwood for paper. The wood is also used as fuel and in the manufacture of cellulose products, plywood, and veneers. The trees are the source of resins, oils, turpentine, tars, and pharmaceuticals.

Examples of conifer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lower elevation conifer forests in the past may have burned every 3 to 30 years, and oak woodlands and savannah had even more frequent fires. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, "How we can burn our way to a better future," 2 Oct. 2020 Historically, fires in the region tended to burn low to the ground, eliminating dead conifer limbs, keeping competing species in check and prompting pine cones to open and disperse their seeds. NBC News, "Fierce, frequent, climate-fueled wildfires may decimate forests worldwide," 22 Sep. 2020 In the grand conifer forests of the Sierra Nevada, as in many other forests across the state, the damage accumulated. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "The science connecting wildfires to climate change," 17 Sep. 2020 Officials said extreme fire behavior is still observed on portions of the blaze, which is burning through mixed conifer, pinyon-juniper, sage and grass. Fox News, "California wildfire whips up fire tornado after showing 'extreme fire behavior'," 2 Sep. 2020 The desert parts of the Sonoran region, unlike its grasslands and high-mountain conifer ecosystems, are not well adapted to blazes. Lydia Millet, The New Republic, "The Risk of Watching the World Burn on TV," 28 Aug. 2020 As the new trees grew, radiation in the soil suppressed an enzyme that contributes to the classic single-stem conifer shape, resulting in an expanse of odd-looking, bushy dwarf pines. Jane Braxton Little, The Atlantic, "Forest Fires Are Setting Chernobyl’s Radiation Free," 10 Aug. 2020 Located inside Grand Teton National Park, this campground is set against a gorgeous backdrop of mountains, conifer trees, and pristine water. Meredith Rollins, Redbook, "The No-Fly, All-Fun Vacation," 13 July 2017 Soon, the aspens are swallowed up in mixed conifer woodlands of Douglas firs, ponderosa pines and Engelmann and blue spruce. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Flower-filled Mount Baldy Crossover Trail is a gorgeous summer hike. Here's how to do it," 11 June 2020

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

circa 1841, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for conifer

ultimately from Latin conifer cone-bearing, from conus cone + -fer

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conifer

Time Traveler for conifer

Time Traveler

The first known use of conifer was circa 1841

See more words from the same year

Statistics for conifer

Last Updated

9 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Conifer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conifer


How to pronounce conifer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of conifer

biology : a bush or tree (such as a pine) that produces cones and that usually has leaves that are green all year


co·​ni·​fer | \ ˈkä-nə-fər How to pronounce conifer (audio) , ˈkō- \

Kids Definition of conifer

: any of a group of mostly evergreen trees and shrubs (as pines) that typically produce cones and have leaves resembling needles or scales in shape

Other Words from conifer

coniferous \ kō-​ˈni-​fə-​rəs , kə-​ \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on conifer

Nglish: Translation of conifer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of conifer for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about conifer

Comments on conifer

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!