noun, often attributive
for·​est | \ˈfȯr-əst, ˈfär-\

Definition of forest 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a dense growth of trees and underbrush covering a large tract A fire destroyed acres of forest. forests of pine and mahogany

2 : a tract of wooded land in England formerly owned by the sovereign and used for game

3 : something resembling a forest especially in profusion or lushness a forest of microphones a kelp forest a forest of skyscrapers


forested; foresting; forests

Definition of forest (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cover with trees or forest land densely forested with firs

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Other Words from forest


forestal \ˈfȯr-​ə-​stᵊl, ˈfär-​ \ or forestial \fə-​ˈre-​stē-​əl, fȯ-​, -​ˈres-​chəl, -​ˈresh-​ \ adjective
forested \ˈfȯr-​ə-​stəd, ˈfär-​ \ adjective


forestation \ˌfȯr-​ə-​ˈstā-​shən, ˌfär-​ \ noun

Examples of forest in a Sentence


Fires destroyed acres of forest. the endless forest that the first European settlers encountered

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

President Trump in a statement called on Congress to give his administration expanded powers in the pending farm bill to ramp up the removal of trees in overgrown forests. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "Trump Administration Seeks Authority for More Logging to Fight Fire Danger," 20 Nov. 2018 Mountain gorillas live in lush and misty forests along a range of dormant volcanoes in east Africa. Christina Larson, The Seattle Times, "Rare conservation win: Mountain gorilla population ticks up," 14 Nov. 2018 Hundreds of firefighters were on the ground in Treuenbrietzen trying to cut trees to make long swaths in the forests to prevent the fire from spreading further. Kirsten Grieshaber, Fox News, "Huge wildfire spreads southwest of Berlin," 24 Aug. 2018 At least two bills in the Legislature seek to discourage homes from being built in fire-prone forests and grasslands. Kurtis Alexander,, "With wildfire season at hand, California on slightly safer footing this year," 17 June 2018 In Poland wild boars go from 48 percent nocturnal in natural forests to 90 percent nocturnal in urban areas. Annie Sneed, Scientific American, "Humans Are Driving Other Mammals to Become More Nocturnal," 14 June 2018 The birds face a number of obstacles, primarily habitat loss from timber activity in coastal forests. Kale Williams,, "State reverses itself, declines to list marbled murrelet as endangered," 8 June 2018 Sound can be marvelously evocative; whisking us away from offices and homes to sit beside babbling streams in shady forests, or shiver on an exposed mountain side. James Vincent, The Verge, "Match any image with an imaginary soundscape using this AI-powered web app," 24 May 2018 For more than a decade, the French Roman Catholic priest had been documenting the mass graves left by Nazi firing squads in the forests and fields of Eastern Europe. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "He’s building a record about those persecuted because of their religion," 5 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

One can now forest bathe everywhere from Lapland to Central Park. Nina Sovich, WSJ, "The New Outdoor Getaway: Landscapes That Have Been ‘Rewilded’," 20 Sep. 2018 Over the years there have been tensions between the Gujjars and Hindus in the region over land use and the right to forest resources. Kamakshi Ayyar, Time, "The Men Accused of Raping and Murdering an Eight-Year-Old Girl in India Are Standing Trial. Here’s What to Know," 27 Apr. 2018 Nearly all of the land is forested, except for a small portion farmed by the Grimmel family, according to the Stevensons’ application. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Harford council approves 22 properties for ag preservation," 25 June 2018 The District reports success: Its analysis of 2016 data found that 38.7 percent of the city’s land area was forested, up from 35.1 percent in 2006. Gabriel Popkin, Washington Post, "D.C. says its tree canopy is growing. Federal researchers disagree.," 10 June 2018 But this would mean foresting an area with a size somewhere between that of India and Canada. The Economist, "Extracting carbon dioxide from the air is possible. But at what cost?," 7 June 2018 As the rest of the world gets busier and noisier, a wild place crackling with glacier ice, mewing with baby otters and forested with twisted hemlocks and ancient cedar trees takes on significant new meaning. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "In ‘A Wild Promise,’ a wilderness area in limbo and a book with a mission," 19 May 2018 The river side is forested with cottonwoods, black walnut, willow, valley oak and sycamore trees. Al Pierleoni, sacbee, "Where to go for fun and food along Sacramento's Garden Highway | The Sacramento Bee," 18 May 2018 The early humans living in these caves would have forested for berries and hunted smaller animals like monkeys and small deer. Nick Whigham, Fox News, "Archaeologists uncover stunning find to help shed light on the dawn of mankind," 10 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'forest.' 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 forest


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1828, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for forest


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin forestis (silva) unenclosed (woodland), from Latin foris outside — more at forum


see forest entry 1

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Statistics for forest

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for forest

The first known use of forest was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for forest



English Language Learners Definition of forest

: a thick growth of trees and bushes that covers a large area


for·​est | \ˈfȯr-əst \

Kids Definition of forest

: a growth of trees and underbrush covering a large area

Other Words from forest

forested \-​əs-​təd \ adjective

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Comments on forest

What made you want to look up forest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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