sap·​ling ˈsa-pliŋ How to pronounce sapling (audio)
: 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 Any that become saplings may be devoured by deer displaced by loss of forests and habitat. Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2023 As dragonflies and white butterflies floated about, Mr. Putnam noted that within a few years, many of the now 14-foot saplings would be as tall as telephone poles and the forest would be self-sufficient. Cara Buckley, New York Times, 26 Aug. 2023 Green Spaces People had no idea back then what role the little sapling might play beyond the sawmill. William Booth, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2023 Nobody knows for sure though the walk up to the peak presents endless opportunities to check in on the progress of those saplings planted in recent years. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Oct. 2023 The brave little sapling pushing up through a crack in the pavement. Lindsay Crudele,, 26 July 2023 Forests are set ablaze or leveled by chainsaws, quickly and indiscriminately; planters then suture avocado saplings onto the barren earth. Alexander Sammon, Harper's Magazine, 16 Oct. 2023 In the early 2010s, tribal leadership worked with the National Resources Conservation Service to plant saplings across 400 acres. Adithi Ramakrishnan, Dallas News, 24 July 2023 There, the underprivileged dead are processed into nascent tree saplings, then shifted to an ominously unspecified location. Guy Lodge, Variety, 15 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sapling.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near sapling

Cite this Entry

“Sapling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


sap·​ling ˈsap-liŋ How to pronounce sapling (audio)
: a young tree

More from Merriam-Webster on sapling

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