earth·​en | \ ˈər-thən, -t͟hən \

Definition of earthen

1 : made of earth
2 : earthly

Examples of earthen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Levees are permanent earthen barriers designed to protect low areas from rising floodwaters. Kris Maher, WSJ, "Mississippi River Neighbors Battle Over Levee Heights," 3 Jan. 2019 Another feature discovered by studying satellite imagery is the enlargement of an earthen berm near a missile test site. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Is North Korea's Nuclear Missile Sub Ready to Set Sail?," 19 Dec. 2016 In Egypt, as Mr. MacGregor shows, priests fashioned earthen figurines of the agriculture god Osiris, implanting them with seeds and burying them after each harvest to sprout new corn. Andrew Stark, WSJ, "‘Living With the Gods’ Review: The Gang’s All Here," 16 Nov. 2018 The Department of Environmental Quality said the earthen dam at one hog lagoon in Duplin County had breached, spilling its contents. Michael Biesecker, The Seattle Times, "1.7 million chickens drown as NC rivers swollen by Florence," 18 Sep. 2018 North Carolina officials also received reports of earthen dam breaches at hog lagoons, spilling out feces and urine. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "North Carolina dam at retired power plant breaches, may release coal ash into river," 21 Sep. 2018 One reason for that assumption is that archaeologists have never found copper at a coastal site from this period, except at the huge earthen mound complex at Poverty Point, Louisiana. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Find shows 4,000-year-old trade routes stretched from Carolinas to Great Lakes," 31 July 2018 Photo by Jenny Staletovicch The lake is ringed by an aging earthen dike that in 2008 was found to be in imminent danger of failing. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Political muscle halts release of Lake O's foul water. The reprieve won't last long," 9 July 2018 Archaeologists have searched for traces of the colony, but more than a century of digging has turned up only the remains of a small workshop and an earthen fort that may have been built later. Katie Langin, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: toxic toads, three-parent babies in Singapore, and the hunt for the Lost Colony," 8 June 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about earthen

Statistics for earthen

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for earthen

The first known use of earthen was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for earthen



English Language Learners Definition of earthen

: made of earth or of baked clay


earth·​en | \ ˈər-thən \

Kids Definition of earthen

: made of earth or of baked clay an earthen dam an earthen jar

More from Merriam-Webster on earthen

Spanish Central: Translation of earthen

Nglish: Translation of earthen for Spanish Speakers

Comments on earthen

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!