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

In an effort to foster public goodwill among the neighbors and highlight accessibility, APR is building a series of affordable yurts and huts on the prairie for the public. Nina Sovich, WSJ, "The New Outdoor Getaway: Landscapes That Have Been ‘Rewilded’," 20 Sep. 2018 Ready to relocate to Polo, a small prairie town about two hours west of Chicago? Megan Barber, Curbed, "Midcentury home inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright asks $325K," 30 Aug. 2018 Within the same breath, stories like Hosea’s offer a stern rebuttal to that viewpoint, offering a view of the simple life on the prairie that’s a compelling enough game in its own right. Daniel Starkey, Ars Technica, "Red Dead Redemption II review: Getting muddy in the wide-open frontier," 25 Oct. 2018 On June 26, representatives from that same company broke ground at its new U.S. subsidiary headquarters located on a wide-open stretch of prairie in Waller County. Mike Glenn, Houston Chronicle, "German company breaks ground at new US branch headquarters in Waller County," 29 June 2018 Leave them standing in the meadow or prairie until spring—birds (including goldfinches) love the seeds, and the cones will remain showy through winter. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "A Quick Guide to Growing Stunning Black-Eyed Susans and Coneflowers," 29 May 2018 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

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

7 Dec 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).


living or existing for a long time

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