\ ˈkärst \

Definition of karst

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an irregular limestone region with sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns


geographical name
\ ˈkärst \
variants: or Kras \ ˈkräs \ or Italian Carso \ ˈkär-​(ˌ)sō \

Definition of Karst (Entry 2 of 2)

limestone plateau northeast of the Istrian Peninsula in western Slovenia extending into eastern Italy

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Other Words from karst


karstic \ ˈkär-​stik \ adjective

Examples of karst in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The caves are more popular with local trekkers and cavers, though they're carved from limestone rock—the stuff that makes Thailand's famed karsts—and face erosion, per a Forbes article on the science of the system. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Thai Cave Story May Be Turned Into Museum, Movies," 12 July 2018 Hundreds of caves are carved out of an otherworldly landscape of undulating mountain ranges and isolated karst towers that feels so prehistoric you half expect pterodactyls to come swooping through. Exploring Tu Lan Cave. Patrick Scott, WSJ, "A Blow-Your-Mind Adventure in Vietnam’s Caves," 13 Nov. 2018 What archaeologists haven’t known for sure, because of the small-scale nature of most excavations so far, is how all those people clustered among the rolling karst and seasonal wetlands of northern Guatemala. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "What 61,000 hidden structures reveal about Maya civilization," 28 Sep. 2018 The normally moist soil of Florida has a stabilizing effect on karst. Chris Bodenner, Smithsonian, "The Science Behind Florida’s Sinkhole Epidemic," 30 Mar. 2011 Housed in a pastel-yellow colonial building opposite a 16th-century church, its entrance is flanked by tall vases, depicting sampan gliding between karst hills. The Economist, "The long arm of the dollar," 19 May 2018 The retention ponds built on those courses can leak into the karst and trigger sinkholes. Chris Bodenner, Smithsonian, "The Science Behind Florida’s Sinkhole Epidemic," 30 Mar. 2011 For long stretches, hikers plod across karst limestone slabs jutting out at tenuous angles. Alex Crevar, WSJ, "Hiking in Croatia: How to Master Some of the World’s Rarest Views," 24 Apr. 2018 Many of the world's clothes hangers originate in two-story warehouses on the road to Lipu, a steamy town in southern China where the river flows between towering karst formations and vendors sell the sweetest taro. Jessica Meyers, latimes.com, "A victim of its own industrial success, China's hanger capital is now just hanging on," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'karst.' 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 karst


1902, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for karst


German, from Slovene dialect or Croatian dialect kras, kars, type of rock, region composed of such rock

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Statistics for karst

Last Updated

9 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for karst

The first known use of karst was in 1902

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More from Merriam-Webster on karst

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about karst

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irregularly rounded

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