grizzly bear


: a very large brown bear (Ursus arctos) of northwestern North America

Note: The grizzly bear is the same species as the brown bear, but grizzly bear is typically used for the North American brown bear and not the European or Asian brown bear. In the U.S., grizzly bear is most often used for a brown bear of inland habitats (as in Montana and western Canada) that is typically smaller than coastal brown bears and usually has lighter-colored tips on the fur. The grizzly bear is often considered a subspecies (Ursus arctos horribilis) of the brown bear and, especially formerly, a separate species (Ursus horribilis).

The brown bears of Kodiak Island, the grizzly bears of the Rocky Mountains and interior Alaska, the European brown bear, all are now considered to be the same species, Ursus arctos, despite tremendous variation in color, size, and habits.Natural History

called also grizzly

Examples of grizzly bear in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Among its first eternal residents was a mountain man who killed a grizzly bear and vice versa somewhere out in Malibu. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 27 Feb. 2024 While this practice cleared vast landscapes of wolves, grizzly bears and other animals, coyotes only became more abundant. Tribune News Service, Orange County Register, 2 Feb. 2024 Yes, in addition to the California poppy, California redwood, grizzly bear, and garibaldi fish, the pallid bat and the golden chanterelle are now official state symbols. Sarah Yang, Sunset Magazine, 3 Jan. 2024 These activities will still be allowed during the remaining three months of the year when grizzly bears are in their dens. Dac Collins, Outdoor Life, 21 Mar. 2024 During torpor, grizzly bears can wake up and move around, contrary to popular belief that bears sleep during their entire hibernation, according to the organization. Makiya Seminera, Miami Herald, 5 Mar. 2024 Those few hundred grizzly bears have been reproducing under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, and now number perhaps 2,000 in the Northern Rockies. Ben Long, The Denver Post, 13 Feb. 2024 Scores of big animals utilize the system, including grizzly bears, black bears, moose, elk and cougars. Martha Shade, CNN, 8 Oct. 2023 Worst off were grizzly bears, who overwhelmingly perished near roads—not because they were struck by cars, though that happened, but because roads pumped the woods full of trigger-happy humans. Ben Goldfarb, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Feb. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use

1791, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of grizzly bear was in 1791

Dictionary Entries Near grizzly bear

Cite this Entry

“Grizzly bear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

grizzly bear

: a large powerful brown bear found from the northwestern U.S. to Alaska

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