co·​ni·​fer ˈkä-nə-fər How to pronounce conifer (audio)
 also  ˈkō-
: 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
coniferous adjective

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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 The result now is a landscape of dense forests dominated by conifers, which are extremely flammable. Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times, 29 May 2024 The same could be true for other conifers in the Sky Islands, such as the spruce-fir landscape that supports the endangered squirrels on Mount Graham. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 20 May 2024 The conifer was the one that led Dr. Dalling to rummage through the brush in the first place. Douglas Main, New York Times, 25 Feb. 2024 The ancient epicontinental sea bordered a forested coastline full of conifers, pines and cypresses. Santiago Flórez, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for conifer 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'conifer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1841, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of conifer was circa 1841

Dictionary Entries Near conifer

Cite this Entry

“Conifer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


 also  ˈkō-nə-
: any of an order of mostly evergreen trees and shrubs having leaves resembling needles or scales in shape and including forms (as pines) with true cones

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