sa·​van·​na | \ sə-ˈva-nə How to pronounce savanna (audio) \
variants: or less commonly savannah

Definition of savanna

1 : a treeless plain especially in Florida
2a : a tropical or subtropical grassland (as of eastern Africa or northern South America) containing scattered trees and drought-resistant undergrowth
b : a temperate grassland with scattered trees (such as oaks)

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Examples of savanna in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Newcomer Cady Heron wants to fit in, but nothing in her growing-up years on the African savanna could have prepared her for the wilds of … suburban Illinois. Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities, "Fall Arts Guide: Theater has promising playwrights, classics of the American stage," 7 Sep. 2019 Paleoanthropologists have determined that the char on those bones was too intense to have been caused by a natural fire on the savanna, which tends to burn at a fairly low temperature. Jeff Csatari, Popular Mechanics, "The Ultimate Grilling Guide," 30 Aug. 2019 Scientists warn that deforestation is approaching a tipping point — between 20 percent and 25 percent — when the degradation could become irreversible, and rainforest could become savanna. Washington Post, "As Amazon burns, breathing problems spike," 28 Aug. 2019 The Alaska and Baffin Island populations of wheatears probably never meet, either on the tundra or on the savanna. Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s northern wheatears are about to embark on a remarkable journey," 10 Aug. 2019 On these prey-rich savannas, life is good—so good that real estate is at a premium. Christine Dell'amore, National Geographic, "This is the only place on Earth where lions live alone," 9 Aug. 2019 Thousands of stars glitter over the African savanna. Nora Mcgreevy,, "‘Lion King’ remake offers a muffled roar," 17 July 2019 For more than 3,000 years, the tri-state area was dominated by oak savannas. USA TODAY, "Ink library, parking barnacles, lunar training grounds: News from around our 50 states," 9 July 2019 The lollipop loop itself is a microcosm of all the park has to offer with marshes, ponds, swamps and black oak savannas, eventually snaking steeply up wooded dunes to a blockbuster panorama. Michael Schroeder, Washington Post, "Visiting the nation’s newest national park: Indiana Dunes," 7 June 2019

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

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for savanna

Spanish zavana, from Taino zabana

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Statistics for savanna

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for savanna

The first known use of savanna was in 1555

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More Definitions for savanna



English Language Learners Definition of savanna

: a large flat area of land with grass and very few trees especially in Africa and South America


variants: also savannah \ sə-​ˈva-​nə \

Kids Definition of savanna

: land of warm regions (as Africa) that is covered with grass and only a few shrubs and trees

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More from Merriam-Webster on savanna

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with savanna

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for savanna

Spanish Central: Translation of savanna

Nglish: Translation of savanna for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about savanna

Comments on savanna

What made you want to look up savanna? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread over or through

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