fern

noun
\ ˈfərn \

Definition of fern

: any of a division (Filicophyta) or class (Filicopsida) of flowerless spore-producing vascular plants having alternating sporophyte and gametophyte generations especially : any of an order (Filicales) of homosporous plants possessing roots, stems, and leaflike fronds — compare seed fern

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Other Words from fern

fernlike \ ˈfərn-​ˌlīk \ adjective
ferny \ ˈfər-​nē \ adjective

Examples of fern in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Licorice ferns grow on its branches, birds nest in cavities and creatures crawl in the litter of its leaves on the forest floor, said Ken Bevis, a stewardship wildlife biologist with the DNR. Craig Sailor, The Seattle Times, "Some of Washington’s biggest trees are dying and scientists don’t know why," 10 Sep. 2018 Today, once-opulent manor houses are being reclaimed by nature, tree branches and ferns sprouting through roofs and windows. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "Fantasized About Being a Castaway? Check Out This Island Holiday," 18 Dec. 2018 And there’s a wide range of greens that are hardy enough to stand up to any black thumb: ponytail palms, snake plants, and ferns are some of our low-maintenance favorites. Alexis Jonnson, Good Housekeeping, "3 Nature-Inspired Ways to Transform Your Home," 18 July 2018 That’s in addition to some of the earliest flowering plants, plus assorted pine, cypress and gingko trees, algae, mosses and ferns, snails, clams, crustaceans, insects, spiders and almost endlessly onward. Stefen Chow, Smithsonian, "The Great Chinese Dinosaur Boom," 19 Apr. 2018 Roy jokes in Spanish about who will cut the most ferns that day, and greets an uncle who works there. NBC News, "This Florida county voted for Trump. But it's a lot like the sanctuary cities he loathes.," 23 Apr. 2018 Redwoods: Bracken ferns have sprouted and are unrolling their new growth to the sky. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tom Stienstra: ‘Perfect storm’ set to ignite spring wildflowers," 19 Mar. 2018 Meanwhile, the koru is both the name of a fern found in the country, and the term used to describe a loop that never becomes tangled. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's Spiral Necklace Has Such a Special Story Behind It," 28 Oct. 2018 Vining plants like ivies and some ferns, which don’t feature a woody stalk, can be wound up a support and then trained in a round wire plant armature, available at any craft store. Cynthia Kling, WSJ, "Laid-Back Topiary for Your Winter Windowsill," 12 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fern.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fern

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fern

Middle English, from Old English fearn; akin to Old High German farn fern, Sanskrit parṇa wing, leaf

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Statistics for fern

Last Updated

21 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fern

The first known use of fern was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for fern

fern

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fern

: a type of plant that has large, delicate leaves and no flowers

fern

noun
\ ˈfərn \

Kids Definition of fern

: a plant that produces spores instead of seeds and no flowers and whose leaves are usually divided into many parts

Other Words from fern

fernlike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on fern

Spanish Central: Translation of fern

Nglish: Translation of fern for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fern

Comments on fern

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