fyn·​bos ˈfān-ˌbȯs How to pronounce fynbos (audio)
: a biome of southern coastal South Africa characterized by a diverse richness of endemic plant species (as of the heath, protea, composite, iris, and lily families), by soil that is acidic and nutrient-poor, and by a climate marked by cold wet winters and hot dry summers
also : the type of vegetation characteristic of this biome

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web In 2002, an entirely new group of insects called the gladiators was discovered in the fynbos. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 6 Dec. 2011 From the fynbos of coastal South Africa to the lush jungles of Borneo, there’s no shortage of fascinating monkey species thriving across the globe—and these furry primates have been serving as a major draw for ecotourism for years on end. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 18 May 2022 The air is crisp and clean, and the smell of the fynbos shrubs is strong; sipping coffee on the terrace at Leeu and watching the morning mist rolling over the vines is an only-in-the-low-season experience. Sarah Khan, Condé Nast Traveler, 31 Mar. 2020 Recent research by our group shows that when the sea retreated, a grassland formed close to the caves, and the fynbos persisted north of the caves. Curtis W. Marean, Scientific American, 1 Nov. 2012 So when the coast was moderately distant, there was an exceptionally rich confluence of food resources for people: geophytes from the fynbos, shellfish from the sea and large game animals on the grasslands. Curtis W. Marean, Scientific American, 1 Nov. 2012 Inverroche, one of the pioneers of South Africa’s craft industry, uses fragrant fynbos shrubs. The Economist, 18 Dec. 2019 Like many other fynbos plants, P. pubescens dislikes alkaline conditions and is intolerant of high levels of phosphorus. Brian Kemble, The Mercury News, 16 Mar. 2017 Three plant groups are especially abundant in the fynbos areas: the Protea family, the Erica family (heaths and heathers), and the Restio family (rush-like plants used to thatch roofs in South Africa). Brian Kemble, The Mercury News, 16 Mar. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fynbos.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Afrikaans, from fyn fine, delicate + bos bush

First Known Use

1936, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fynbos was in 1936

Dictionary Entries Near fynbos

Cite this Entry

“Fynbos.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fynbos. Accessed 27 May. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on fynbos

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!