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

In addition to six miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, the state forest has 17 miles of hiking trails to explore. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "8 spectacular Lake Michigan lighthouses to visit in Wisconsin," 12 July 2018 The forest around us teemed with mysterious life: the rustlings and chitterings, queries and flirtations of unseen creatures. Hillary Jordan, Outside Online, "Hillary Jordan on Her First Bear Encounter," 11 July 2018 The sheriff’s office hastily put together a search crew of federal, state and local officials that combed the forest outside the hot springs for six hours before a deputy heard a baby’s cry at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday., "Baby survives being buried in the woods for 9 hours," 9 July 2018 The lush forests of northern Thailand are home to hundreds of caves that attract visitors, but Tham Luang Nang Non is deeper and more dangerous than most, and especially treacherous during the rainy season. Times Staff,, "A curious soccer team, a flooded Thai cave and a perilous trek to safety," 8 July 2018 The flashbacks play out in a mock-heroic style with tinges of magic realism — a leopard emerging from the forest at an opportune moment, a gang boss punishing his enemies in a particularly crushing manner. Mike Hale, New York Times, "Review: The Criminal Life in Mumbai in ‘Sacred Games’," 6 July 2018 The state forest is a popular spot and serious injuries are common as people slip on the wet rocks near the waterfall and fall. David Owens,, "Two Injured At Waterfall At Enders State Forest In Granby," 5 July 2018 The forests are relatively near towns and villages, which means their habitat is easily accessible. Bradley J. Fikes,, "For the Fourth, bring out the (San Diego Zoo) babies!," 3 July 2018 The low-slung home sprawls across three levels and houses two bedrooms, an open living space, a terrace for entertaining guests, and a deck that looks out onto the forest. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "Cool concrete summer home sits among a sea of trees," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 In 1995, when Trader first came to the monument as an intern, Bandelier was forested with great stands of ponderosa pines and other conifers that had stood for millennia. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "What If Our Forests Don't Come Back?," 9 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

9 Oct 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).


lying above or upon

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