fau·​na ˈfȯ-nə How to pronounce fauna (audio)
plural faunas also faunae ˈfȯ-ˌnē How to pronounce fauna (audio)
: animal life
especially : the animals characteristic of a region, period, or special environment
the diverse fauna of the island
compare flora
ˈfȯ-nᵊl How to pronounce fauna (audio)
faunally adverb

Did you know?

Faunus and Fauna were the Roman woodland god and goddess for whom animals were a particular concern. Faunus was the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Pan, and like Pan, he had goats' legs. Their goat-legged helpers, called fauns, were known for their love of pleasure and mischief. The fauna of a continent are often very similar across a broad east-west band; from north to south, however, they may vary greatly.

Example Sentences

studying the diverse fauna of the island studying the faunas of different islands
Recent Examples on the Web The mountains are considered sky islands, providing a completely different habitat for flora and fauna than the surrounding desert below. Eve Chen, USA TODAY, 13 May 2023 There have always been differences in what people of different regions eat, based on the flora and fauna supported by local climate and geography. Ligaya Mishan Esther Choi, New York Times, 8 May 2023 While there may not be a full-on super bloom every year, the springtime flowers in Joshua Tree intermingled with the year-round flora and fauna is a treat to see. Maya Kachroo-levine, Travel + Leisure, 17 Apr. 2023 As a result, some of the flora and fauna here evolved separately—Galapagos-like—from those in the rest of the state. Adam H. Graham, WSJ, 23 Mar. 2023 By purchasing and rewilding stretches of ranchland and farmland that separate small forest areas, the group Saving Nature is creating corridors to strengthen resiliency of vulnerable flora and fauna. Nick Roll, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 May 2023 Tana Ebbole’s landscapes include one inhabited by geese, rare nonhuman fauna in this flora-heavy show. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2023 Guides in the Alps go through a rigorous training and testing process, and their knowledge runs deep on topics from mountain safety to flora and fauna to local customs and more. Doug Mayer, Outside Online, 15 Feb. 2023 In the northern reaches of Tanzania, the opulent Chem Chem Lodge offers a glimpse into the stunning beauty of Lake Manyara, with no shortage of fascinating flora and fauna to discover across its borders. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


New Latin, from Latin Fauna, sister of Faunus

First Known Use

1771, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fauna was in 1771

Dictionary Entries Near fauna

Cite this Entry

“Fauna.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fauna. Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


fau·​na ˈfȯn-ə How to pronounce fauna (audio)
plural faunas also faunae -ˌē How to pronounce fauna (audio)
: animals or animal life especially of a region, period, or environment
faunal adjective

Medical Definition


plural faunas also faunae -ˌē How to pronounce fauna (audio) -ˌī How to pronounce fauna (audio)
: animal life
especially : the animals characteristic of a region, period, or special environment compare flora sense 1
faunal adjective
faunally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on fauna

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