prairie

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

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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 for us is the essence of what made us Osage. NBC News, "Saving Oklahoma's prairies, a vital weapon against climate change," 30 Nov. 2019 Microscopic by national park standards, this 1.25-square-mile patch of steep hills, lakeside wetlands, forests, and prairie was remarkably underdeveloped and underutilized in 1904. National Geographic, "Beat the crowds at these abandoned U.S. national parks," 9 Nov. 2019 Residents in some homes in Montreal, a cosmopolitan city an hour north of the U.S.-Canada border, and Regina, in the flat western prairies, are among those drinking and cooking with tap water with lead levels that exceed Canada’s federal guidelines. Martha Mendoza, USA TODAY, "Lead in some Canadian water worse than Flint, investigation finds," 5 Nov. 2019 Residents in some homes in Montreal, a cosmopolitan city an hour north of the U.S.-Canada border, and Regina, in the flat western prairies, are among those drinking and cooking with tap water with lead levels that exceed Canada's federal guidelines. Martha Mendoza, Detroit Free Press, "Lead levels in Montreal water, other Canadian cities far worse than Flint," 4 Nov. 2019 In the western prairies, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party were shut out. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "Trudeau Re-election Reveals Intensified Divisions in Canada," 22 Oct. 2019 The prairie is the most endangered ecosystem in North America because of farming and overgrazing. Molly Korzenowski, Twin Cities, "Minnesota Zoo to release 400 endangered Dakota skipper butterflies," 6 July 2019 Dodson noted that prairie and wetlands restoration is important for the wildlife in the area, providing rich habitat for resident and migratory waterfowl. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Prairie supported by Bass Pro," 24 June 2019 In pre-settlement times, the cowbird followed herds of bison in the shortgrass prairies of the central U.S., picking seeds out of their dung. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "North America’s Rarest Warbler Comes Off the Endangered List," 11 Oct. 2019

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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Statistics for prairie

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prairie.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prairie. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for prairie

prairie

noun
How to pronounce prairie (audio)

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

prairie

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

Kids Definition of prairie

: a large area of level or rolling grassland

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Comments on prairie

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