: any of a genus (Ulmus of the family Ulmaceae, the elm family) of usually large deciduous north temperate-zone trees with alternate stipulate leaves and fruit that is a samara
: the wood of an elm

Illustration of elm

Illustration of elm
  • elm 1

Examples of elm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But out front, Israel said, is an giant, old elm tree, and the backyard has plenty of space for their daughter to play. Hope Hodge Seck, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2023 Flannel moths have been known to feed on many trees and shrubs, like elms, maples, hackberries, hollies, oaks, and sycamores, according to the NC State Extension. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 18 Aug. 2023 The Asian longhorned beetle is an invasive, wood-boring beetle that attacks 12 types of hardwood trees in North America, including maple, elm, buckeye, birch and willow trees. Haadiza Ogwude, The Enquirer, 11 Aug. 2023 As neighbors walked by and said hello, the couple discussed future home improvements, including landscaping, in the shade of a majestic Chinese elm in the front yard. Lisa Boone, Los Angeles Times, 6 Sep. 2023 This year, six tree types are available: bur oak, American elm, sycamore, Shumard oak, Mexican plum and lacebark elm. Noor Adatia, Dallas News, 6 Sep. 2023 The Dutch elm disease, a fungus called Ophiostoma ulmi, has also decimated 90 percent of American elms that lined the streets of large metropolitan areas since the 1930s. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 18 Aug. 2023 Each bottle comes matched with a wooden sculpture crafted from an elm tree from the distillery’s gardens with an engraving of the queen’s favorite flower, the lily of the valley. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 1 Sep. 2023 Across the reflecting pool, a group of White American University students were clustered beneath an elm tree. Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German elme elm, Latin ulmus

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of elm was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near elm

Cite this Entry

“Elm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elm. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: any of a genus of large deciduous trees that have toothed leaves and nearly circular one-seeded winged fruits and are often grown as shade trees
especially : american elm
: the wood of an elm

More from Merriam-Webster on elm

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