\ ˈfərn How to pronounce fern (audio) \

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 How to pronounce fernlike (audio) \ adjective
ferny \ ˈfər-​nē How to pronounce ferny (audio) \ adjective

Examples of fern in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Liriope would be attractive, and wood ferns would be, too. Neil Sperry, ExpressNews.com, "When mondo grass attacks, put up a wall," 5 July 2019 On the east end of the transit center, above Beale Street, the walking trail passes several dozen giant rhubarbs, a fern-like plant with gigantic leaves and a prehistoric vibe. John King, SFChronicle.com, "SF’s Transbay transit center rooftop park reopens to public — quietly," 1 July 2019 The woods are full of mountain laurel and ferns growing on the sides of the slope. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "A corkscrew hike to the top of Candlewood Mountain in New Milford," 21 June 2019 Beds of dill, borage, tarragon, shiso and chives, a pool house doubling as an orchid hothouse and ferns fill the spaces between. Quanta Magazine, "Victoria Meadows’ Earthly Visions of Alien Life," 16 June 2019 The water runs fast, flashing between banks of oak and willow, cottonwood and box elder and hackberry, and intricate wild-haired tapestries of fern. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "Ramblin’ Man," 24 June 2019 The lushness of the ferns, trees, bushes, and flowers intensifies as the summer drones on, crescendoing into a jungle of vegetation by August, just when the heat is at its most oppressive. Alex Delany, Bon Appétit, "The Backyard at Saturdays Is My One Way Ticket Out of NYC’s Gnarly Summer Heat," 14 June 2019 Be sure to check out the neat pyramid shaped rock peeking out of the ferns to the north. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "A view with three trees and so much more on top of Bull Hill in Thompson," 7 June 2019 High ferns line the sides of the trail as visitors see the three oak trees ahead that signify the overlook. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "A view with three trees and so much more on top of Bull Hill in Thompson," 7 June 2019

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

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for fern

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

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English Language Learners Definition of fern

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


\ ˈfərn How to pronounce fern (audio) \

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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