\ ˈsir How to pronounce sere (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of sere

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : being dried and withered
2 archaic : threadbare



Definition of sere (Entry 2 of 2)

: a series of ecological communities formed in ecological succession

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for sere

Synonyms: Adjective

arid, droughty, dry, thirsty, waterless

Antonyms: Adjective

damp, dank, humid, moist, wet

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?


Sere has not wandered very far from its origins-it derives from the Old English word sēar (meaning "dry"), which traces back to the same ancient root that gave Old High German, Greek, and Lithuanian words for drying out and withering. The adjective sere once had the additional meaning of "threadbare," but that use is now archaic. The noun sere also exists, though it isn't common; its meanings are "a dry period or condition " or "withered vegetation." There are also three unrelated nouns spelled sere. They refer to a claw or talon; a series of ecological communities; and a Hebrew vowel point.

Examples of sere in a Sentence


a sere region that can't support agriculture

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

With thick brushstrokes, Ms. Harricks summons the sere land and low trees of the Australian bush, the unseen moon turning the ground almost white as the dingo hunts for a rabbit to feed her pups. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: There Was Never Anything Quite Like 1919," 11 Jan. 2019 From the marine melting pot of the Galápagos and the sere beauty of the Atacama Desert to the snowcapped peaks of Patagonia and the grassy plains of the pampas, the variety of terrain is unmatched. Priscilla Eakeley, Town & Country, "The Town & Country Grand Tour," 5 Oct. 2016 Ely Ortiz and the members of his rescue crew, Aguilas del Desierto, or Desert Eagles, spread out across the flat, sere desert. Bob Ortega, CNN, "For families of vanished migrants, unidentified remains mean answers never come," 15 May 2018 Bay Area clarinetist Ben Goldberg thrives in sparse settings, where the sere bite of his melodically fluid lines can stand out in stark contrast to surrounding silence. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Clarinetist Ben Goldberg and keyboardist Michael Coleman bring new perspectives to work by experimental jazz composer Steve Lacy," 20 Apr. 2018 Sulphur Springs, a small town in northeast Texas, for most of the year is a sere landscape of brown, beige and gray. Dana Jennings, New York Times, "When a Comic Book Hillbilly and Milton Collide," 21 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As part of the innovative pick-up deal, the seres will also be broadcast on the CBS later in 2020, following its run on Pop. Will Thorne,, "‘One Day At a Time’ returning for Season 4 on Pop," 27 June 2019 Photo: Scott London Last year’s event drew about 75,000 people—and 317 works of art—to the sere, chalky landscape. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, "At Burning Man, Art Is Now More Permanent Than Perishable," 24 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sere.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of sere


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1916, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sere


Middle English, from Old English sēar dry; akin to Old High German sōrēn to wither, Greek hauos dry, Lithuanian sausas


Latin series series

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sere

Listen to Our Podcast about sere

Dictionary Entries near sere








Statistics for sere

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sere

The first known use of sere was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on sere

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sere

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sere

Comments on sere

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


to shake or wave menacingly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!