noun, often attributive
prai·rie | \ˈprer-ē \

Definition of prairie 

1 : land in or predominantly in grass

2 : a tract of grassland: such as

a : 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

b : 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

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Examples of prairie in a Sentence

Millions of buffalo once roamed the prairies. The train tracks extend over miles of prairie.

Recent Examples on the Web

The prairie is designated as a low-density area, said Piacentini, and not a growth corridor like I-10 or U.S. 290. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Growth challenges traffic planners in Waller County," 8 May 2018 Soon enough, Lean on Pete becomes a more draining drama about a runaway kid trekking across the prairie in search of salvation. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Lean on Pete: A Deeply Sad Tale of a Boy and His Horse," 5 Apr. 2018 Dozens of butterflies danced across a prairie filled with the plants this week. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Don’t be distracted by the beauty. Florida’s national parks are falling apart," 29 Jan. 2018 Anything to do with agriculture goes back and forth between Iowa and southern Illinois up into the prairies of Canada. Noah Davis, Popular Mechanics, "The Grueling Life of a Long-Haul Trucker," 29 July 2015 Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press At an idyllic, quiet, tranquil patch of fen and prairie in Oakland County's Springfield Township, a tragedy is unfolding. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's most endangered species nears extinction in Oakland County," 13 July 2018 This tournament didn’t feel like the U.S. Open last year, when Brooks Koepka won at 16-under-par on the wide-open Wisconsin prairie. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, "U.S. Open has many contenders, but don’t underestimate Tiger," 13 June 2018 Courtesy of White Oak Conservation Whooping cranes, named for their booming calls, once traveled in great flocks between Florida and Canada, wintering along the Gulf Coast's marshy prairies. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Rare whooping cranes hatch at Florida wildlife refuge | Miami Herald," 9 May 2018 The American prairie is our Serengeti — our own savannah coming back to life. Andrew Evans,, "Feel the pull of the prairie on a uniquely American safari in Montana," 5 July 2018

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

circa 1682, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prairie

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

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Statistics for prairie

Last Updated

28 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prairie

The first known use of prairie was circa 1682

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More Definitions for prairie



English Language Learners Definition of prairie

: a large, mostly flat area of land in North America that has few trees and is covered in grasses


prai·rie | \ˈprer-ē \

Kids Definition of prairie

: a large area of level or rolling grassland

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Comments on prairie

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


one that holds something together

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