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


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As a bonus, many low-tech conservation actions (restoring forests, preserving grasslands, eating less meat) can reduce our carbon footprint as effectively as massive industrial changes. Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker, "What If We Stopped Pretending?," 8 Sep. 2019 Hummingbirds, tiny no-see-ums, butterflies, honeybees and the more traditional bumblebees were also enjoying the forest bounty. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Sit-and-see adventure at Santa Rosa Mountains," 7 Sep. 2019 The populations of abalone, rockfish and other marine species that depend on inshore kelp forests to survive are being decimated, confirmed the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Tom Stienstra,, "On seafloor, sea urchins trump abalone," 7 Sep. 2019 The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy was launched in 2015 with the aim of linking all 53 Commonwealth countries under an umbrella of sustainable forest conservation initiatives. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "Archie Will Make an Appearance on Prince Harry & Duchess Meghan's Tour of Africa," 7 Sep. 2019 Some of the fire was visible from Interstate 17 and nearby communities, including Anthem, New River, Black Canyon City and Cave Creek, forest officials said. Chris Coppola, azcentral, "River Fire north of Phoenix grows to 4,800 acres on Tonto National Forest," 6 Sep. 2019 Sometimes his pursuits were wholesome, such as his passion for auto racing and motivational speaking and business ventures that included restaurants, construction-equipment leasing and investments in forest land and nursing homes. Will Larkin,, "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 1, Walter Payton," 5 Sep. 2019 In between were vast expanses of forest where Maya people often fled to escape colonial violence and oppression. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "In search of the ‘white Jaguar’: Archaeologists travel deep into the jungle to find a lost Maya city," 5 Sep. 2019 These territories do an even better job of protecting tropical forests than areas that strictly prohibit human activities. Mikaela Weisse, Twin Cities, "Mikaela Weisse: Five myths about tropical rainforests," 4 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In addition to the hundreds of thousands of acres of marshland that were drained or diked off, the researchers discovered former wetlands that now are forested that were unknown to anybody. Peter Fimrite,, "New maps show how little is left of West Coast estuaries," 17 Aug. 2019 Aubree Hudson, 33, was arrested on a count of arson to forest land by Cal Fire investigators with the assistance of the Butte County Sheriff’s Office. Evan Sernoffsky,, "The Scanner: Crackdown in SF’s Tenderloin leads to scores of arrests," 12 Aug. 2019 According to Farm Africa, an organization working on reforestation efforts in East Africa and helping farmers out of poverty, less than 4% of Ethiopia's land is forested, compared to around 30% at the end of the 19th century. Helen Regan, CNN, "Ethiopia plants more than 350 million trees in 12 hours," 30 July 2019 According to Farm Africa, an organization involved in forest management in Ethiopia, less than 4% of the country’s land is now forested, a sharp decline from around 30% at the end of the 19th century. Washington Post, "Ethiopia plants more than 200 million trees in 1 day," 29 July 2019 The former refers to bringing trees back to areas that were previously forested, whether that’s through planting trees or allowing the woodlands to regrow on their own. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Restoring forests may be one of our most powerful weapons in fighting climate change," 5 July 2019 Four years later, only half the project areas were forested. Paula Moura, ProPublica, "Why Carbon Credits For Forest Preservation May Be Worse Than Nothing," 22 May 2019 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

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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Statistics for forest

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

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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 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

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


readily or continually undergoing change

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