\ 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 Your Room Is a Windowless Cave Solution: Shade-tolerant plants like ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), most ferns, and peace lily (Spathiphyllum; pictured) will do fine even in dim bedrooms. Heather Arndt Anderson, Sunset Magazine, "Good Plants for Bad Spaces: How to Get Your Greenery Thriving in the Most Challenging Conditions," 14 Jan. 2020 The ferns and leaves here are as thick as the crowds of sharp-dressed medellínenses—there's a real sense of an area blossoming. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "In El Poblado, Medellín’s Most Exciting Neighborhood," 19 Dec. 2019 Also on view are a white bird of paradise, ferns, and spider plants. Myrna Petlicki, chicagotribune.com, "Have old-fashioned family fun at Oak Park Fall Fest," 14 Sep. 2019 But after just eight years of gobbling up ferns and other plants, the same creature would have weighed more than a ton. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, "Like humans, this dinosaur crawled before it walked," 20 May 2019 But the Gilboa roots belong to more primitive trees that may be related to ferns and horsetails. Colin Barras, Science | AAAS, "Scientists have discovered the world’s oldest forest—and its radical impact on life," 19 Dec. 2019 Substitute our dyed ferns with pampas grass for a modern feel. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Watch Spray-Painted Ferns Turn a Christmas Wreath into a Centerpiece Year-Round," 12 Dec. 2019 The way the procession works is that bracken ferns and willows turn first, then maples, followed by aspens, dogwoods and other hardwoods. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Crazy-quilt start to fall colors across Sierra," 22 Sep. 2019 The hole was about five to eight feet wide, obscured by a fern, the paper reported. Meagan Flynn, Anchorage Daily News, "Hawaii man dies from fall into a lava tube hidden in his backyard," 8 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for fern

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fern

Last Updated

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ferns. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for fern


How to pronounce fern (audio)

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

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