per·​ma·​frost | \ ˈpər-mə-ˌfrȯst How to pronounce permafrost (audio) \

Definition of permafrost

: a permanently frozen layer at variable depth below the surface in frigid regions of a planet (such as earth)

Examples of permafrost in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But climate change is not the only reason for the permafrost thaw, according to Don Antrobus, the Climate Change Adaptation Program Manager at ANTHC. Author: Greg Kim, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Sinkhole’ in Southwest Alaska village linked to thawing permafrost forces family to evacuate their home," 27 Jan. 2021 The melting of Arctic ice and permafrost would also reduce the area of ice reflecting heat and light from the sun. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "'Past a point of no return': Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero still won't stop global warming, study says," 12 Nov. 2020 Or a geologist who’d prefer to continue their work studying global warming’s effect on permafrost but can only find jobs at fossil fuel companies. Robin Kaiser-schatzlein, The New Republic, "The Artist Isn’t Dead," 4 Jan. 2021 Zhùr has been frozen in permafrost for thousands of years, sealed away from air and moisture. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, "A 57,000-Year-Old Mummified Wolf Pup Was Discovered Frozen in Yukon Permafrost," 23 Dec. 2020 The wolf pup was found perfectly preserved in permafrost in Yukon, Canada, according to a news release from Des Moines University. Samantha Hernandez, USA TODAY, "57,000-year-old wolf mummy found frozen in Canada, researchers study ancient pup's life," 22 Dec. 2020 Potential damage to the tundra can occur when surfaces are compressed, causing water to collect, which can cause melting of permafrost below. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "Drilling for Oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Two Perspectives from Alaskan Outdoorsmen," 21 Dec. 2020 Vehicles crushed vegetation in the spongy, damp tundra, allowing water to pool and melting sections of the underlying permafrost, causing parts of the land to sink. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "Plan to map oil in Alaska’s Arctic refuge ignores environmental risks, critics say," 21 Dec. 2020 While blasting a wall of permafrost with a water cannon to release whatever riches might be found inside, Neil Loveless saw something melting out of the ice. Science, "57,000 year-old wolf puppy found frozen in Yukon permafrost," 21 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'permafrost.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of permafrost

1943, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for permafrost

permanent + frost

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about permafrost

Time Traveler for permafrost

Time Traveler

The first known use of permafrost was in 1943

See more words from the same year

Statistics for permafrost

Last Updated

14 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Permafrost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for permafrost



English Language Learners Definition of permafrost

technical : a layer of soil that is always frozen in very cold regions of the world

More from Merriam-Webster on permafrost Encyclopedia article about permafrost

Comments on permafrost

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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