noun, often attributive
prai·​rie | \ ˈprer-ē How to pronounce prairie (audio) \

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

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 Is there a crisis of democracy on the frozen prairie? The Editorial Board, WSJ, 14 Jan. 2022 Experts from Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington want to help people plant a patch of prairie of their own in an effort to help increase natural habitat for pollinators. Daily Southtown Staff,, 12 Jan. 2022 But the native prairie comes alive with even a trickle. Tammy Webber, Chron, 9 Sep. 2021 The prairie’s 8-foot-tall big bluestem and Indian grasses are especially beautiful in the fall. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 Aug. 2021 Today a half-mile nature trail climbs the bluff then connects with the Ice Age Trail and travels through a prairie that the DNR is working to restore. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 Aug. 2021 The agency said North Dakota has lost more than 70% of its native prairie, which is essential for wildlife, pollinators, ranching operations and communities. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 25 Nov. 2021 Mullen’s last stand began on a crisp autumn day on the Missouri prairie leading a group of players with little at stake beyond personal pride, a middle-tier bowl bid and their head coach’s future. Edgar Thompson,, 20 Nov. 2021 The prairie is giving urban Native Americans access to first foods, cultural resources and ceremonial space that’s hard to come by in a metropolitan area. Brian Oaster, oregonlive, 13 Nov. 2021

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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Time Traveler for prairie

Time Traveler

The first known use of prairie was circa 1682

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Dictionary Entries Near prairie



prairie acacia

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Statistics for prairie

Last Updated

21 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prairie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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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 How to pronounce prairie (audio) \

Kids Definition of prairie

: a large area of level or rolling grassland

More from Merriam-Webster on prairie

Nglish: Translation of prairie for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prairie for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about prairie


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