sap·​ling | \ ˈsa-pliŋ, -plən\

Definition of sapling

1 : a young tree specifically : one not over four inches (about 10 centimeters) in diameter at breast height

Examples of sapling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The 12-to-14-foot sapling came from the original Eisenhower oak that towers over an East Wing garden created by former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Melania Trump joins presidential descendants to plant baby Eisenhower oak at White House," 27 Aug. 2018 This fact was first flagged by a Reuters photographer, who noted on Saturday that there was now a piece of yellowed grass on the spot where the sapling stood just days ago. David Meyer, Fortune, "Why the Tree Emmanuel Macron Gifted to Trump Disappeared From the White House Lawn," 30 Apr. 2018 During this week's visit, Macron will appeal once more to Trump's martial predilections, presenting him with an oak sapling that grew at the site of a World War I battle where U.S. Marines repelled a German offensive almost exactly a century ago. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Is Trump and Macron’s meeting a showdown over the West?," 23 Apr. 2018 Giant hogweed doesn't grow to 14 feet overnight; the seedlings and saplings start out much smaller. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The 411 on Giant Hogweed, the Invasive Plant That Can Cause Severe Burns and Blisters," 16 July 2018 But Italus is a mere sapling compared to the Great Basin bristlecone pines in California and Nevada, some of which are more than 5,000 years old. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Europe’s Oldest Known Tree Discovered in Italy," 29 May 2018 The sapling on the left is a young box elder tree, which has leaf stems directly across from each other on the branch. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "QUIZ: Can You Identify These Dangerous Summer Plants and Bugs?," 3 Aug. 2018 Torres arrived in a much different way than almost any other Yankee: as another team’s sapling, not a redwood. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "Gleyber Torres Arrives as Part of a Pinstriped Youth Movement," 22 Apr. 2018 Now those forests are mostly green, with the crowns of red spruce peeking out of the canopy and saplings thriving below. Lisa Rathke, The Christian Science Monitor, "Pollution regulations decrease acid rain, spur red spruce rebound," 11 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for sapling

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for sapling

The first known use of sapling was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sapling



English Language Learners Definition of sapling

: a young tree


sap·​ling | \ ˈsa-pliŋ \

Kids Definition of sapling

: a young tree

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More from Merriam-Webster on sapling

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sapling

Spanish Central: Translation of sapling

Nglish: Translation of sapling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sapling for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sapling

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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