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

Dan and Jill O’Brien of Wild Idea Buffalo Company raise theirs as close to wild as possible, allowing the stately creatures to roam the South Dakota prairie and feast on native grasses from birth to death. Elizabeth G. Dunn And Matthew Kronsberg, WSJ, "The Battle for Thanksgiving Heats Up," 31 Oct. 2018 All the people moving here and new construction in areas that were once prairie and farmland, means water managers need to come up with enough water for flushing toilets, watering lawns and so on. Alicia Acuna, Fox News, "Colorado town hopes to strike gold by converting abandoned mine into fresh water reservoir," 3 July 2018 The documentary and traveling exhibit is a project by the Elgin History Museum and Grindstone Productions to tell the history of Elgin and northern Kane County’s dairy farms, its prairies and its efforts to balance growth, progress and open space. Michelle Mullins, Elgin Courier-News, "Elgin News Digest," 8 June 2018 Located across the border from Montana and North Dakota, Saskatchewan is characterized by flat prairies and wide-open skies — perfect terrain for watching thunderstorms roll through. Kathryn Prociv, Washington Post, "Flying-saucer storm tears across the ‘land of the living skies’," 6 June 2018 How to Grow Echinacea Coneflowers are plants of prairies and open woods. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow Gorgeous Echinacea in Your Garden," 29 May 2018 The need to move thousands of tons of lumber and coal and food and passengers at high speeds through forest and prairie and desert did not come into question. Kendra Atleework, The Atlantic, "Power Lines Are Burning the West," 25 May 2018 From at least 10,000 years ago, coyotes lived in grasslands, prairies and deserts, as far east as the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and as far west as California. New York Times, "Coyotes Conquered North America. Now They’re Heading South.," 24 May 2018 Those attending will be able to pick out seeds that Jim Earnest and Ken O’Dell have collected from the wilderness, woodlands and prairies. kansascity, "Johnson County briefs: Olathe Live! returns with concert from The Pic and Bow | The Kansas City Star," 19 Feb. 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

19 Jan 2019

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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