prai·​rie ˈprer-ē How to pronounce prairie (audio)
often attributive
: land in or predominantly in grass
: a tract of grassland: such as
: a large area of level or rolling land in the Mississippi River valley that in its natural uncultivated state usually has deep fertile soil, a cover of tall coarse grasses, and few trees
: one of the dry treeless plateaus east of the Rocky Mountains that merge on their east side with the prairies proper and are characterized by shorter grasses and drier less fertile soil

Example Sentences

Millions of buffalo once roamed the prairies. The train tracks extend over miles of prairie.
Recent Examples on the Web When strategizing your Lyrids perch, look for unobstructed views to the northeast and overhead — think beaches, prairies, hilltops, or sprawling deserts instead of dense forests. Stephanie Vermillion, Travel + Leisure, 21 Apr. 2023 Even when brisk prairie winds blow, the shrill whine of the fans within Applied Digital’s Bitcoin mine can be heard a half-mile away. Gabriel J.x. Dance Zach Levitt, New York Times, 9 Apr. 2023 The only relief from the monotonous prairie around it was a muddy, meandering stream known locally as the Mouse River, a translation from the French of its map name—the Souris. Don Holm, Outdoor Life, 3 Apr. 2023 Coyotes are dog-like animals that typically weigh between 15 and 46 pounds and can be found in a variety of environments, most typically open areas like prairies and deserts. Kerry Breen, CBS News, 24 Mar. 2023 To better understand how lifelong bonding works, Beery and her team wanted to know if both male and female prairie voles make equal investments in making the long haul work. Ashleigh Papp, Scientific American, 14 Feb. 2022 To save their disappearing prairie, Stout and his neighbors formed two prescribed burn associations in the Loess Canyons. Brianna Randall, Discover Magazine, 11 Dec. 2021 Radler’s Rosarium — the home of Will Radler, who is the developer of the popular Knock Out series of roses in Greenfield — will feature an area dedicated to developing and testing new roses as well as area landscaped with trees, perennials, shrubs and a reconstructed prairie. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4 June 2021 There, vast prairie stretches into the horizon, and farmland is finding dual purposes for both wheat and wind. Clarisa Diaz, Quartz, 17 Mar. 2023 See More

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

Word History


French, from Old French praierie, from Vulgar Latin *prataria, from Latin pratum meadow

First Known Use

circa 1682, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of prairie was circa 1682

Dictionary Entries Near prairie

Cite this Entry

“Prairie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


prai·​rie ˈpre(ə)r-ē How to pronounce prairie (audio)
: a large area of level or rolling grassland

More from Merriam-Webster on prairie

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