\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

Judas broods and boozes, Pilate tends to a fern, and in general their infinite term of confinement to darkness pretty much wiles itself away. Max Maller, Chicago Reader, "The Book of Maggie follows an epic quest to preserve Armageddon," 24 May 2018 The restaurant, which opened in 1933, is tucked into a patio encircled by palm trees, orchids, birds of paradise, bougainvillea and ferns. Elizabeth Zach, chicagotribune.com, "Cuernavaca: A side trip into opulence, only an hour away from Mexico's capital," 9 Apr. 2018 Its star ingredient — Scottish fern — might be able to protect cellular DNA from the harmful effects of UV exposure, a detail Dr. Golueke uncovered in his reading of medical literature. Kari Molvar, New York Times, "Direct From Europe: High-Tech Holistic Skincare," 26 Feb. 2018 Traces of fern leaves and spores were also discovered in Oetzi’s stomach. Washington Post, "Ancient ‘Iceman’ shows signs of a well-balanced last meal," 13 July 2018 Traces of fern leaves and spores were also discovered in Oetzi's stomach. NBC News, "Insides of ancient 'Iceman' shows signs of a well-balanced last meal," 12 July 2018 The department said on Twitter that previously released video footage of a suspect attempting to steal hanging fern baskets led to his identification. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Dude, here's your gnome: Police recover property from Highlands thefts," 5 July 2018 Pierson grows and exports a large percentage of the United States’ fern plants every year. Ellie Rushing, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Florida towns' claims to fame: We're No. 1," 3 July 2018 Related stories from Miami Herald Field biologist treks through tropical hardwood hammocks to collect rare fern spores Florida Forever? Jim Turner, miamiherald, "Court says Legislature defied voters by diverting money meant to buy, preserve land," 15 June 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

3 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for fern

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

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More Definitions for fern



English Language Learners Definition of fern

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


\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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