noun, often attributive
for·​est | \ ˈfȯr-əst How to pronounce forest (audio) , 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 How to pronounce forestal (audio) , ˈfär-​ \ or forestial \ fə-​ˈre-​stē-​əl How to pronounce forestial (audio) , fȯ-​ , -​ˈres-​chəl , -​ˈresh-​ \ adjective
forested \ ˈfȯr-​ə-​stəd How to pronounce forested (audio) , ˈfär-​ \ adjective


forestation \ ˌfȯr-​ə-​ˈstā-​shən How to pronounce forestation (audio) , ˌfär-​ \ noun

Examples of forest in a Sentence

Noun Fires destroyed acres of forest. the endless forest that the first European settlers encountered
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Pangburn and other experts say largely unheralded warmer nighttime temperatures are feeding the flames of most western fires by increasing the number of hours when dead trees, leaf litter and other forest fuels are primed to burn. Jane Braxton Little, Scientific American, "One Climate-Change Wildfire Risk Lurks in the Dark," 27 Oct. 2020 California governor Gavin Newsom has also prioritized climate blame in lieu of fully supporting effective steps, such as prescribed burns and forest thinning. Andrew Wheeler, National Review, "California Leaders Are Wrong to Fault the Trump Administration on Wildfires," 27 Oct. 2020 Fifty-eight percent of the state is forest; nearly a third of its residents live in rural counties. Nikil Saval, The New Republic, "The Future of the Democratic Party Is in Pennsylvania," 26 Oct. 2020 The workshop recently began using natural dyes for the first time; the browns and yellows in the broom come from walnuts and osage orange heartwood, both grown in the college’s nine-acre forest. Liz Logan, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Kentucky College Has Been Making Brooms for 100 Years," 26 Oct. 2020 Wolves occupy about 35% of Wisconsin, mostly in the top third of the state with a small pocket of animals living in the central forest region. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "There will be a full moon on Halloween this year for the first time in almost two decades," 26 Oct. 2020 The highs and lows of playing, and trying to climb the competitive ranks, feels like swinging from branch to branch high up in a forest canopy. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "It's OK to Play One Game Forever," 24 Oct. 2020 In a tiny cabin next to Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, floor-to-ceiling windows framed a forest of maples and oaks. Kelly Smith, Star Tribune, "COVID-cation options in Minnesota include new tiny cabins and grain silos," 23 Oct. 2020 For example, many cabins (including the majority on public lands) sit on forest roads that are not plowed in the winter. Washington Post, "Not all cabins close up for winter. Here are heated options for socially distant exploring.," 22 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Re-introduced by conservationists in the 1920s, their numbers increased in the ’30s, when many family farms were bankrupted, abandoned and then reverted to forest during the Great Depression. Beth Segal, cleveland, "How to keep deer – and rabbits, groundhogs and other hungry critters – out of your vegetable garden," 13 Aug. 2020 The Mbe Mountains forest in southern Nigeria, where these images were captured, is home to about a third of the total population. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Images Offer a Rare Glimpse of Cross River Gorillas With Their Babies," 13 July 2020 Alongside exhibitions—from William Wegman, Edmund de Waal—guests can forest bathe, play outdoor chess, and follow a boardwalk halfway around the island. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "51 Things in Europe that Every Traveler Needs to Experience," 4 Aug. 2020 Densely forested Guyana is home to part of the Amazon rainforest, and adventure here extends into sourcing delicious ingredients for daily meals. National Geographic, "Chicken Pepper Pot," 21 May 2020 That has lowered the rate that forests soak up carbon dioxide and increased the risk of wildfires, which have added to emissions. Akshat Rathi,, "Fires in Australia to Push Rise in Global CO2 Levels to Record," 24 Jan. 2020 He was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on 13 counts of arson to forest land. Lauren Hernández,, "Missouri man arrested on suspicion of arson in Santa Clara County wildfires," 25 Sep. 2019 The researchers predict that as these new megafires become more common, there will increasingly be more threats to forest wildlife and less and less biodiversity. Fox News, "California wildfires 'too extreme' even for birds that thrive in burned out forests," 6 Aug. 2019 Cal Fire law enforcement officers arrested Graham on September 23 and charged him with 13 counts of arson to forest land and two counts of arson during a state of emergency. Allen Kim, CNN, "Missouri man charged with intentionally starting Reservoir Fire in California," 27 Sep. 2019

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for forest

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for forest

Last Updated

30 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Forest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for forest


How to pronounce forest (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of forest

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


for·​est | \ ˈfȯr-əst How to pronounce forest (audio) \

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

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